PESHAWAR: Several people gathered on Sunday for the soyem of Mashal Khan, a student lynched over allegations of committing blasphemy, at his home in Swabi. Meanwhile, two clerics are facing a hate speech investigation for attempting to disrupt his funeral.
Besides, dozens also participated in a rally to protest against the public lynching at the Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan. The demonstration started from Mashal’s house in Zaida village and ended at a nearby graveyard where he was buried.
“I am thankful to the Supreme Court for taking suo moto notice of my son’s murder,” Iqbal Khan, Mashal’s father, told The Express Tribune. “I am also thankful to the prime minister – all we need is justice and justice only,” he added.
Civil society in Mardan also took to the streets holding placards and chanting slogans demanding justice for the student.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa police chief Salahudin Mehsud arrived in the city for an important meeting held in connection with Mashal’s case. A police official said two more people nominated in the FIR had been rounded up, bringing the total number of suspects arrested for the lynching to 15.
Reuters reported that the police had opened an investigation on Sunday into two clerics who had attempted to disrupt Mashal’s funeral.
“The two clerics… [used] the mosque loudspeaker for hate speech against the slain student and his family and … created hurdles for the people and another cleric to participate in the funeral,” a senior Swabi police official told Reuters. He spoke requesting anonymity for fear of being targeted by religious hardliners. A local imam had refused to lead the funeral prayers at Khan’s funeral on Friday, according to Swabi resident Salman Ahmed. A technician who was asked to do so in the cleric’s place was confronted by several people afterwards.
Mardan police chief Alam Shinwari said 20 people had been identified as culpable in the killing on the basis of videos taken during the attack, and 15 had been arrested. He said they would be tried by anti-terrorism courts.
University officials had issued a public notification hours before the murder naming three students being investigated for “blasphemous activities”.
Mashal was beaten to death by fellow students after a dormitory debate was followed by accusations of blasphemy being spread across the university campus.