PM Imran thanks Sri Lanka for allowing burials of Muslim COVID-19 victims

12:08 PM | 26 Feb, 2021
PM Imran thanks Sri Lanka for allowing burials of Muslim COVID-19 victims

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan has thanked the Sri Lankan leadership and welcomed the Sri Lankan government's official notification allowing the burial option for those dying of COVID-19.

Khan’s tweet comes after Sri Lanka made changes to the Quarantine and Prevention of Disease Ordinance(Chapter 222) allowing the burial of Muslim COVID-19 victims.

Earlier, the bodies of the coronavirus victims had to be cremated irrespective of their religious identity.

Now the families of those who died of coronavirus have the option to either bury or cremate the body after the regulation was amended to replace the phrase “cremation of the corpse” with “cremation or burial of the corpse”.

Acknowledging Pakistan's position, the Sri Lankan government has issued a formal notification to provide cremation and burial facilities to those who died due to COVID-19.

Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi also thanked the Sri Lankan leadership in a tweet.

This week, Prime Minister Imran Khan concluded his two-day Sri Lank visit.  Upon his arrival in Colombo on February 23, Sri Lanka’s Muslims staged a demonstration demanding an end to forced cremations of COVID-19 victims.

Dozens of Muslims carried a mock Janazah (coffin) denouncing the Sri Lankan government’s policy of banning burials of virus victims.

Rajapaksa’s government had earlier rejected international pleas and recommendations from its own experts to allow Muslims to bury their dead in line with Islamic custom.

The government first banned burials in April amid concerns – which experts say are baseless – that burying bodies could contaminate groundwater and spread the virus.

The World Health Organization has said there is no such risk, recommending both burial and cremation of virus victims.

Sri Lanka’s majority Buddhists, who are strong backers of the current government, are typically cremated, as are Hindus.

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