SWABI: The chehlum of Mashal Khan, the Abdul Wali Khan University student who was lynched after being accused of blasphemy, was held in his hometown of Zaida, Swabi on Sunday amid tight security and with the notable absence of representation from the provincial ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and religious-political parties.
Swabi Nazim and Mashal Khan Action Committee Chairman Ameer Rehman laid flowers at the slain journalism student’s grave and offered prayers for his soul.
Later, he spoke at a function held at Zaida Cricket Ground to remember Mashal. The event saw attendance from members of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Awami National Party, Pakhtunkhwa Ulasi Tehrik, lawyers’ associations, Baloch nationalists, as well as an Afghan diplomat.
Rehman demanded that AWKU, the university where Mashal was killed, be named after him and that the murdered student be placed under the Shaheed package by the provincial government.
“Those involved in the lynching should be tried under military court and should be categorised alongside the Taliban for they have killed an innocent student for their ulterior motives,” said Rehman.
He urged the Supreme Court to set a precedent by giving exemplary punishment to those who use religions for their own designs.
K-P Aman Jirga leader Syed Kamal Shah created furore when he lashed out at the ANP, saying the party’s workers were involved in Mashal’s lynching. He questioned where Bacha Khan and the party’s philosophy of non-violence and tolerance had gone when its students were behind such an inhumane act.
“ANP should make itself accountable and set precedents for others,” he said.
Shah’s criticism riled some members of ANP’s student wing National Youth Organization and some party activists who stormed the stage to attack him. Police intervened and prevented things from getting out of hand.
District Nazim Rehman calmed the workers and urged them to tolerate criticism from others and accept others’ opinions. He then asked Shah to continue his speech.
Once the programme resumed, Afghan dDputy Head of Mission Zardasht Shams said he had brought the message of love and peace from the president of Afghanistan and from the Afghan people, who have paid tribute to the mother and father of the slain student for showing resilience and tolerance in a difficult time.
He added that the message of non-violence was the need of the hour to fight militancy and terrorism.
PPP provincial leader Raheemdad Khan read out former president and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s message for the family and said his party would extend its full support to Mashal’s parents in their struggle to get justice.
Pakhtunkhawa Ulasi Tehrik Chairman Dr Said Alam Mehsud demanded that an example should be made of the culprits of the heinous crime and that the Supreme Court transfer the case to a military court.
High security was deployed around the ground where the event was held, while elite force personnel were also stationed at the village entrance.