In April 2017, one of the most politically uniting murder cases took place in Mardan, when Mashal Khan, a 25-year old Mass Communication student was killed by a mob enraged by his some of his actions, which they alleged were blasphemous. The supreme court apparently disagrees.
Today, on February 7, the Anti-Terrorism Court in Haripur were scheduled to announce a reserved decision on the 57 students and teachers from the Wali Khan University, who were accused of being evoking, inciting or being directly involved in badly beating Mashal Khan, shooting him dead and then mutilating his body. A heavy force of police officers were stationed outside the supreme court before, during and after the decision was announced, with authorities being cautious of rioting following the announcement of the decision.
The ATC sentenced one man to death and handed life terms to five others for murdering a student who was falsely accused of blasphemy. Twenty five others were convicted of lesser offences, while another twenty six were acquitted from all charges. The death sentence was given to the Imran Ali, the student who was close to Mashal, and the one who fired the weapon which ended his former friend’s life.
While 57 individuals were arrested by the Police, there are still four individuals who have been able to evade justice uptill now, and one of them is Arif Khan, a local counsellor of the PTI. Mashal Khan’s brother has talked to the media and demanded the KP Government to help arrest and bring to justice their party’s member.
Pakistanis have been expressing their delight and relief after justice actually prevailed after a crime such as this..
Wow a Pakistani court has done a great job. It has given a verdict against the Islamist murderers of atheist/freethinker/critic of Islam Mashal Khan. 1 got death penalty,5 got life imprisonment,& 20 more got other punishment. Even Bangladesh’s courts can’t be so strong. Bravo.
— taslima nasreen (@taslimanasreen) February 7, 2018
It is certainty of punishment that deters. Good to see it happen and that too in record time. #MashalKhan
— Zarrar Khuhro (@ZarrarKhuhro) February 7, 2018
Lets hope the judgement creates some deterrence against false blasphemy charges. #MashalKhan
— Ayeshah (@JazbaatiiiQaum) February 7, 2018
Great to hear killers of Mashal Khan have been sentenced. Despite my categorical opposition to capital punishment, what’s heartening to see is that justice has been done.
I pray that it provides some solace to Mashal’s family
— Mehr Tarar (@MehrTarar) February 7, 2018
Many Have been giving credit to Imran Khan and the KP Government of solving the case as soon as they did.
After court verdict on Mashal case, KP police has once again shown it’s professionalism by bringing a murderous mob under the ambit of the law. This is the first time in Pakistan where police has been successful in bringing the main accused plus other mob mbrs to justice.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) February 7, 2018
Credit goes to @ImranKhanPTI and @KPGovernment for pursuing #MashalKhan case. IK was the first and only party head to visit Mashal’s family when others were reluctant due to fear
— Mubashir Zaidi (@Xadeejournalist) February 7, 2018
KPK Govt decides to go in appeal against those who got released in #MashalKhan murder case.
— Ajmal Jami (@ajmaljami) February 7, 2018