PESHAWAR: Anti-Terrorism Court’s (ATC) decision to exonerate 26 suspects in the Mashal Khan lynching case has been challenged in Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday, urging the court to set aside the judgment and award capital punishment to all the accused as Mashal’s murder at the university campus was their common intention.
“Take them into custody,” Aimal Iqbal Khan, brother of late Mashal Khan appealed the PHC “Their acquittal will not only encourage all of the 26 accused but will also convey wrong impression of the society as the crime, they have committed is not only heinous and brutal in nature but also against the humanity and norms Islam.”
The case has been filed through legal panel comprising of Barrister Amirullah Khan, Shahab Khattak, Fazal Khan and Muhammad Ayaz. They asked the court to punish the accused in accordance to the charges leveled against them.
Lawyers told in appeal that besides the sufficient evidences available with the prosecution but they were not appreciated. “The trial court has miserably failed to appreciate the ocular and circumstantial evidences provided,” said the appeal submitted to the court.
They added that after their acquittal by the ATC judge, the accused were warmly welcomed by public gathered at Rashakai interchange, where the accused once again admitted charges against them and announced that they will also commit such crimes in future and challenged the writ of state.
In appeal to the court, the lawyers said that all the evidence including the photographs and videos that are also exhibited during the trial have been accepted for the conviction of the accused and the judge also rely on the same evidences while convicting other accused but 26 were released despite the fact that they were also the part of the same illegal mob that lynched Mashal Khan.
“The trial court has admitted it in the judgment that prosecution has proved charges levelled against accused facing trail without any Shadow of doubt but no logical reasons were given by the court while acquitting the 26 accused in the case.”
There are sufficient ocular and medical evidences to connect the acquitted accused for the charges leveled against them. Hence, the judgment is liable to be set aside and all of them shall be awarded capital punishment and take them into custody.
“The charges have also been proved against acquitted accused, during the trial,” claimed the petitioners in their petition. “Criminal conspiracy has been proved beyond shadow of any reasonable doubt, as such an acquittal under section 120-B is unwarranted both in law and facts.”
They added that it is also against the principle of Qisas and such offences must be restricted by capital punishment to set example for future, therefore a law cannot be allowed to take a lenient view.
“There was a common intention for which the illegal mob has gathered at the campus and that was kill Mashal,” said Advocate Muhammad Ayaz Khan. “It was pre-planned conspiracy of murder of Mashal and finally they had achieved their purpose and thus all those involved in the mob, deserve the capital punishment.”
Khan added that all the accused, acquitted by the ATC judge can be seen in the videos each one with a role in murder and so they cannot be let free. “Hence, the judgment of the ATC is not sustainable in the eyes of law and liable to be set aside.”
Aimal Iqbal Khan, brother of Mashal Khan said while talking to media outside the court that that people of such mindset shouldn’t be allowed free in society, otherwise other Mashals’ lives will be in danger.
Aimal said that a separate case should be registered against them as after their release, they openly challenged the writ of state.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2018.