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

Published: 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.

‘Imam refused to lead Mashal Khan’s last rites’

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.

Fake profile statuses go viral on Facebook in K-P after Mashal Khan murder

“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.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (12)

  • Hasan
    Apr 17, 2017 - 1:37PM

    WHEN will life have (value) in Pakistan?Recommend

  • Aslam
    Apr 17, 2017 - 2:41PM

    The incident must be investigated by some highly professionals as a special designated team to unveil truth.Recommend

  • Saeed Masood
    Apr 17, 2017 - 2:41PM

    These killers took the the law of the land and Islam in their own hand, which is itself blasphemy act, punish them accordingly.Recommend

  • R.A
    Apr 17, 2017 - 2:57PM

    Now is the time
    to show Justice is possible in Pakistan

  • Arsalan
    Apr 17, 2017 - 3:09PM

    Why is the police investigating if he committed blasphemy or not? There are no separate punishments for killing a blasphemer and killing an innocent person. Police should instead focus on arresting the people behind them and fight case against them in court until they are punished.Recommend

  • Shahid
    Apr 17, 2017 - 3:16PM

    The real issue isn’t whether he did or did not commit blasphemy. The real issue is that no one should be allowed to take law in to their own hands. Individuals have no right to take a life of anyone, blasphemer or not. They all committed murder and should be punished.Recommend

  • Jawad U Rahman
    Apr 17, 2017 - 3:21PM

    Why does it matter? Is lynching justified according to the law if evidence was there?Recommend

  • Dr kamran
    Apr 17, 2017 - 7:06PM

    Even if he is found to have committed blasphemy, it should be only the law to punish him…not the people around. The killers should be brought to justice…Recommend

  • Zulfiqar Khan
    Apr 17, 2017 - 10:14PM

    In Pakistan the Blasphemy law should be amended to “If the accused is not proven guilty in the court of law then the accuser be booked for Blasphemy”. This way the Blasphemy law will not be misused against anyone in the country. Recommend

  • MJ-Sid
    Apr 17, 2017 - 10:57PM

    Surah Hujarat, Ayat # 6 (transliteration):

    “O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done.”Recommend

  • ali
    Apr 18, 2017 - 3:01AM

    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.Recommend

  • patriot
    Apr 18, 2017 - 2:49PM

    @Jawad U Rahman:
    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. Recommend

More in K-P