No evidence to suggest Mashal Khan committed blasphemy: K-P IG

IG says there was no blasphemous content before his murder, 'lots of activity appeared on social media' afterwards


Afp/News Desk April 17, 2017

Inspector General Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Monday said there was no evidence to suggest Mardan university student who was beaten to death on campus committed blasphemy.

"There was no blasphemous content uploaded on Mashal Khan's social media pages prior to his lynching," K-P IG Salahuddin Khan Mehsud said while addressing media.

He added there's no concrete evidence, the university student who was beaten to death on campus over blasphemy allegations had committed blasphemy.  The IG also said that another student Abdullah had recorded his statement before the police. "A friend has denied that he and Mashal Khan uploaded any blasphemous content on social media," Mehsud said.

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Police announced Monday they had arrested 22 people after the lynching of a university student accused of blasphemy, but observers said there was little hope authorities would secure convictions.

A large mob attacked journalism student Mashal Khan last Thursday, stripping, beating and shooting him before throwing from the second floor of his hostel at the Abdul Wali Khan university in the conservative northwestern town of Mardan.

The brutality of the attack, recorded on a mobile phone camera, shocked the public and led to widespread condemnation, including from prominent clerics. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to prosecute the perpetrators as protests broke out in several cities.

Mehsud said the number of people arrested in connection with the case had risen to 22, from 12 at the weekend. They were mainly students but also included some university clerical workers.

He said police had so far found no evidence to support the blasphemy allegations against Khan, and condemned the university for investigating the case without police involvement. A second senior police officer, who requested anonymity, said many members of the police, prosecution service and judiciary sympathised with the attackers and he did not expect any guilty verdicts.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive charge in Pakistan, and can carry the death penalty. Even unproven allegations can prompt mob lynchings or lesser violence.

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"There are hundreds of sympathisers in my force and if I take too much interest in the case I might be killed too," the police officer said.

He added that although arrests had been made on the basis of CCTV footage and video clips, a court would require witnesses to come forward and past experience had shown this would not be likely -- partly because Pakistan has no witness protection programmes.

Saroop Ijaz, a lawyer employed by  Human Rights Watch in Pakistan, noted that no Muslims were convicted for torching 100 Christian homes in a 2013 incident in Lahore sparked by blasphemy claims, nor for the murder of a young Christian couple a year later. "Nobody is going to stick their neck out because you will be abandoned," he said.

Vigilantes have murdered 65 people over blasphemy allegations since 1990, according to research compiled by the Center for Research and Security Studies think-tank.

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COMMENTS (12)

patriot | 3 years ago | Reply | Recommend @Jawad U Rahman: @Shahid: @Arsalan: I think you know it matters in Islamic if the person who was killed was blasphemer or not. If he was then killers will get a treatment like Mumtaj Qadari got. judges will have sympathy with him and people will hail him. sane voices like yours have no place in a religious society.
ali | 3 years ago | Reply | Recommend we are living in dark times. and so much in need of a mesiah to heal the wounds in the fabric of our society, the society wounded by none others then our lack of compassion for others. i can only pray to all mighty Allah that no more Mashals should die a agonising death at the pretext of protecting the faith. He was someones son, someones brother. We did not kill him but we killed our tolerance. Sad day for pakistanis Sad day for muslims in pakistan.
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