PESHAWAR: Activists, mainly of Awami National Party, Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, have warned of holding a sit-in outside the apex court if those convicted in the Mashal Khan murder case are not immediately released.
They have also announced that they will resist Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government bid to file an appeal against those acquitted in the case by a trial court.
These demands were made during a protest demonstration and rally held in the K-P’s district Mardan on Friday.
In the rally, the protesters chanted slogans against Mashal Khan, a journalism student at the Abdul Wali Khan University who was lynched on April 13, 2017 after being accused of blasphemy.
The rally participants termed as ‘heroes’ those who were acquitted of the murder charge and welcomed them at Rashakai Interchange.
On February 7, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Haripur awarded death sentence to one and 25-year imprisonment to five others in the Mashal Khan murder case. The ATC judge Fazal-e-Subhan Khan also sentenced 25 others under section 297/148/149 PPC to four-year in prison.
The court, however, exonerated 26 out of the 57 accused in the lynching case, saying: “No conclusive evidence is brought on record against them and … they were not found to have played any overt act in the lynching of Mashal Khan.”
After announcement of the verdict, the K-P home department had announced it would appeal against all those who have been acquitted. “We will also file an appeal for extreme punishment of those already awarded [life imprisonment],” a press release issued by the K-P home department had read.