Bring Me The Horizon: Mashal Khan

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Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) announced the verdict on 7 Feb 2018 in Haripur Central Jail, 31 convicts over Mashal Lynching.

Mashal Khan

The Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) court in Abbottabad on Wednesday. One man sentenced to death, five life imprisonment and 25 get four-year jail each for murdering a student falsely accused of blasphemy.The crime sent shockwaves throughout the nation.

Moreover, The trial took place inside Haripur Central Jail for safety reasons. Security was tight for the verdict, with hundreds of police deployed and roads closed around the prison.

In Adittion, Mashal Khan was killed by an angry mob in the premises of the university on 13 April 2017, over fake allegations of posting blasphemous content online. Mashal was beaten, his body mutilated and shot by a gang made up mostly of students. Before being thrown from the second floor of his dormitory.

However, The brutality of the attack which was recorded on mobile phone cameras and posted online, stunned the public. It led to widespread condemnation- including from prominent religious clerics. Protests erupted in getting details of the judgement.

Therefore, students who took part were caught after being identified through CCTV footage from the university and video clips.

On the other hand, The Murder was instigated by a member of secular student group who threatened by Mashal’s growing prominence as a critic of rising fees.

Consequently, Many of the Mashal’s village stayed away from his funeral, fearing being attacked by hardliners.

Verdict or Stalemate

Mashal Khan along with murderer Imran Sultan Muhammad
courtesy: The Nation

Imran Sultan Muhammad fired at Mashal Khan ensuing in his death and sentenced to death.

Secondly, Court exonerated 26 off all charges over lack of evidence. “No conclusive evidence is brought on record against them. At the same time they were not found to have played any overt act in the lynching of Mashal Khan. Whereas though identified in the videos/PFSA report, they could only be seen standing in the mob or making videos. Therefore, they are acquitted of all charges leveled against them It is directed that they shall be released forthwith if not required in any other case,” the judgment reads.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government announced it will appeal against the acquittal of accused.  “The K-P govt will go into an appeal against all those who have been acquitted.” A press release issued by the K-P Home Department said. “We will also file an appeal for an extreme punishment of those already awarded [life imprisonment].”

Mashal Khan’s Family Reacted

The family of Mashal Khan said that they would go to the high court against an anti-terrorism court (ATC). Acquitting of 26 accused in the brutal murder of journalism student in April last year.

In their first formal response to the verdict. Aimal Khan, brother of Mashal Khan, said that all the accused deserved punishment as they were part of the mob that had killed his brother.

“It’s an incomplete justice. We need full justice,” mother of Mashal Khan told media.

“How court released (some) killers who broke my son’s head, hands, shoulders on camera?” she questioned.

Meanwhile, Aimal Khan called for Imran Khan to honor his promise of renaming Swabi university after Mashal Khan.

“I appeal to Imran Khan to keep the promise he made when he visited our house for condolence after the murder of Mashal Khan,” he said.

Government reconciliation with Mashal Khan’s Family

In the meantime, Members of the National Assembly of Pakistan passed a unanimous resolutions to condemn the murder of Khan

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said no evidence had been found to suggest Khan had committed blasphemy.

Furthermore, A senior police officer of KP Police, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that “many members of the police, prosecution service and judiciary sympathised with the attackers. He did not expect any guilty verdicts” and added that “there are hundreds of sympathisers in my force and if I take too much interest in the case I might be killed too”.

Who was Mashal Khan?

Mashal Khan, 23 year old boy was studying journalism in Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan. He was poet, educationist and capable of visionary leadership qualities.

Furthermore, He described himself as a humanist, and had plastered his room with posters of his political heroes. Che Guevara & Karl Marx and written slogans celebrating free speech on the walls.

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