No blasphemous material found in Mashal Khan case: K-P CM

Published: April 14, 2017

PESHAWAR/SWABI: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government on Friday ordered a judicial inquiry into the lynching of a student on the campus of a university in Mardan by a mob a day earlier. The harrowing video of the lynching shared on social media triggered widespread condemnation from civil society, politicians and rights crusaders across the board.

Mashal Khan, a student of Journalism and Mass Communication at the Abdul Wali Khan University (AWKU), was shot in the head and chest and then his body desecrated by a mob who accused him of committing blasphemy. The video of the gruesome violence made via mobile phone cameras shows Mashal’s disrobed body – covered in blood – being dragged, first in a hallway and then on a road of the campus. It also shows students attacking the policemen who tried to intervene.

The FIR of the grisly killing was registered at the police station of upscale Sheikh Maltoon neighbourhood against 20 suspects, including university employees, students and a tehsil councilor. The FIR – registered under section-302, 148, 149, 297, 427 of the Pakistan Penal Code along with section-7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act – says that the tragic event was preceded by a students’ protest in which the mob accused Mashal and his two friends – Abdullah and Zubair – of committing blasphemy. “During negotiations between the administration and protecting students, the police came to know that a mob had brutally killed Mashal Khan in Hostel-1 of the university,” it said.

Mardan university student accused of blasphemy beaten to death on campus

The incident drew widespread condemnation with PTI Chairman Imran Khan pledging ‘firm action’ against the culprits and assuring that the “law of the jungle can’t prevail”. The issue was also raised in the K-P Assembly with opposition lawmakers expressing concern over the incident.

Speaking on the floor of the house, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak condemned the killing as ‘barbaric’ and ‘brutal’ and announced an independent judicial inquiry into it. “We have yet not found any blasphemous material in the case,” he told the lawmakers.

A senior police officer overseeing the inquiry told The Express Tribune that there were no traces of any blasphemous content on either in the victims’ cell phone or his social media account. “After a thorough analysis of the footage available, we identified 20 people,” he added. “Nine of whom are already in our custody,” he said, adding that they were being investigated.

Upholding Prophet’s respect duty of all Muslims: Nisar

However, the AWKU administration on Friday took a bizarre step by posting a notification on its website rusticating the deceased student along with his two friends and banning their entry into the campus for alleged blasphemy.

The university provost, Fayaz Ali Shah, however, told The Express Tribune that the students were rusticated to initiate an inquiry on some verbal complaints received by the university against the three. “We don’t have any written or documented proof of their involvement in any blasphemous activities,” Shah said. To a question regarding the use of a judgmental tone in the notification, he said: “It must be a clerical mistake and I will check it with the officials concerned”.

Meanwhile, Mashal’s funeral prayers were offered under strict security at his native village, Zaida, in Swabi on Friday morning.  Hundreds of people, including his relatives and villagers, attended his last rites. After the funeral, Mashal’s father Iqbal Khan – who is a Pashtu poet – refuted the blasphemy allegations against his slain son. “My son would always cite the examples on the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions (RA). I know my son very well. He could not take such a step,” Iqbal said, while talking to media.

Four blasphemy suspects handed over to FIA

HRCP calls for justice; CJP asked to take suo motu

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) raised grave alarm over Mashal’s lynching and urged that effective steps be taken to bring all those involved to justice and to tackle the panic and horror among citizens, especially students and the academia, in the aftermath of the barbaric murder.

A civil society organisation from Lahore also requested Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar to take a suo motu notice of the incident.  “If this incident of serious nature can happen in a university, then it is a serious message for the entire society and raises concern as to what trend we were setting in the society,” said the application, submitted before the apex court by the Civil Society Network Pakistan’s chief Abdullah Malik.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Umar
    Apr 14, 2017 - 11:06AM

    I hope justice is swift and the punishment appropriate. This case needs to be made an example of so that further atrocities of this kind are not repeated.

    It is a perfect opportunity for Imran Khan to show leadership. Recommend

  • Saeed Masood
    Apr 14, 2017 - 11:08AM

    The blame goes to Imran Khan himself, he has been preaching arrogance to the youth. Recommend

  • Parvez
    Apr 14, 2017 - 11:26AM

    Mr. Khan, when political parties patronize the religious right for getting their vote and the judicial system is left to crumble …. then the law of the jungle will prevail. Recommend

  • Irfan_M
    Apr 14, 2017 - 11:30AM

    I saw the video of naked dead body being attacked with the shouts of Allah o Akber coming from everywhere. My reaction – – ” I am so ashamed to be a Muslim”.Recommend

  • tak
    Apr 14, 2017 - 11:50AM

    just because of being a minority ahmadi the innocent was killed. is this what islam teaches us. shameful act and that too in a university. imagine what happens in villages. where are we heading towards disaster. and sad part is this has been happening for yrs and the courts dont take any harsh judgement to stop these acts. Recommend

    Apr 14, 2017 - 12:25PM

    We need to revamp the Police system and Judicial system without it we will not enjoy PEACE in Pakistan……..May Allah give us all COMMON SENSE.

    The Police and Judicial system is still based on the legal framework that was established by the British……….we must make it more FAIR and OPEN to the very ordinary citizen of Pakistan…………..

    Can PTI can start on this journey in KPK……………..the rest of Pakistan will fall into their lap…………… Recommend

  • Ameer Qaisrani
    Apr 14, 2017 - 12:47PM

    Really sad incident
    Illiteracy at its peak
    Imran Khan please get all the culprits punished really strictly. Islam has specified death penalty for murder so a fair decision would be the death penalty of all these 500(or whatever quantity of students it was)
    May Allah protect our countryRecommend

  • Zaheer
    Apr 14, 2017 - 2:33PM

    Where is Justice Shaukat Siddiqui nowRecommend

  • Last Man Alive
    Apr 14, 2017 - 2:35PM

    Law of Jungle will prevail unless these ” Janglis ” are

    tried in anti terrorism court and hanged to death

    for murdering a human being.Recommend

  • Truth_Prevails
    Apr 14, 2017 - 3:29PM

    @Saeed Masood: Such a shameful comment. His so-called arrogance is against thieves whom he has successfully dragged to the court! This is a cold-blooded murder and trying to score patwarism points here is unwarranted & shameless!Recommend

  • Shah
    Apr 14, 2017 - 8:51PM

    IK instead of talking too much, it is time to urgently go to the house of the murdered innocent person and offer your condolences; It is your habit you dont realize the urgency of the tragic events; Recommend

  • kushal
    Apr 14, 2017 - 9:19PM

    Thank you Jinnah.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Apr 14, 2017 - 10:48PM

    I think Trump’s Grandpappy of all Bombs may be needed to purge these murderous ‘students’ of their highly criminal and barbaric behavior. As someone already mentioned, if this is way people who are supposedly seeking intellectual enlightenment can behave, what can one expect from the have-nots and academically deprived ??Recommend

  • Khan
    Apr 15, 2017 - 4:48AM

    Mob justice is a ominous sign of a failed state. Recommend

  • kaber
    Apr 15, 2017 - 1:59PM

    Pakistanis killing pakistanis in the name of religion, race , caste , ethnicity , language , customs etc….Muslim killing Muslims for the sake of politics , in the name of religion , race , caste , ethnicity , language , opinions , lies , customs etc……RESPECT EACH OTHER …DON’T KILL EACH OTHER…..WORK FOR YOUR FAMILY TO SUPPORT FINANCIALLY , EDUCATIONALLY , MORALLY ETC…WORK FOR PAKISTAN TO DEVELOP IT…Recommend

  • Rollin & Trollin
    Apr 15, 2017 - 5:26PM

    @Umar: Even if by some remote chance death sentences were handed down to the murderers of Mashal Khan, the prevailing atmosphere and mindset of the rank and file here is that they would be celebrated as ‘Brothers of Mumtaz Qadri’. Pathetic.Recommend

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