PESHAWAR/MARDAN/SWABI - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Friday announced that a judicial inquiry will be conducted into the lynching of a student, who apparently did not commit blasphemy – the charge for which he was brutally murdered.

Khattak expressed sorrow over the murder of Muhammad Mashal Khan by a mob of students at the Abdul Wali Khan University (AWKUM) and said the provincial government was properly investigating the matter.

The 20-year-old journalism student was stripped, beaten, shot and thrown from the second floor of a hostel on Thursday. The mobsters were only prevented by police from torching his body.

Talking to media at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly premises, the chief minister said people were not allowed to take the law into their own hands in any circumstances.

He disclosed that he had directed the IGP to file a report in this regard and after that a judicial inquiry of the incident would be launched, owing to its important and sensitive nature.

Earlier, speaking at the floor of the provincial assembly, Khattak said he had been in contact with the police, and the initial reports suggested that Mashal Khan had not committed anything of the sort for which he was lynched.

“We have taken out the student's mobile record, and it does not show any text or any such thing [as could be deemed blasphemous]," he said. "This could be somebody's malice or an individual’s attempt to provoke the mob to attack," he said.

The chief minister said a proper inquiry should be carried out and the culprits should be punished to prevent such incidents in future.

KP IGP Salahud Din Mehsud in a statement said initial details of the incident have been received and most of the accused have also been identified.

He revealed that eight accused were arrested among those nominated in the murder FIR while more arrests were being made.

Sources said police had nominated 20 people including students, employees of the university and outsiders in the first information report. They said the murder was not a spontaneous work of a mob as the nominated persons had planned to kill Mashal.

The murdered student was laid to rest in Zaida, his native village in district Swabi. His funeral prayer was offered in the morning, which was attended by relatives and friends of Mashal as well as area residents.

 

 

Desire for peaceful, just society

 

Muhammad Iqbal, father of Mashal, demanded a detailed investigation of the murder. He said he could not believe his son was involved in any act of blasphemy.

“Ask my neighbours as to how I had groomed my children. How they lived and how they interacted with people,” he said.

Iqbal said his son used to talk about teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with family members at home and always respected the religion. Whenever the topic of religion was discussed at home, Mashal used to be much respectful to the Prophet (PBUH).

The grieved father said Mashal was a critic of the system, adding that his son rarely spoke and mostly remained silent.

As he was a journalism student, he often criticised the system because he wanted a fairer society like the one during the caliphate of Hazrat Omar (RA)", Iqbal said.

Iqbal added that his son was very obedient and always took good care of his family. He was very tolerant and patient and never caused us any grief.

The people have taken law into their own hand, so its responsibility of the government to thoroughly investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators of the brutal murder to the book, he demanded.

Sister calls it outright terrorism

Mashal’s grieved sister also demanded justice for her brother and called his murder an act of terrorism. She said her brother had always dared to dream big and inspired her to achieve greatness in life.

Recalling his last words to her before his death, she said her brother had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and education, and he wanted to win a Nobel Prize.

“Mashal was always studying and talking about importance of education. He used to say life was not worth living without an education,” Mashal’s sister said.

“He kept asking me to focus on my education so that I could become an independent woman. He was very broad-minded. What they did to him, it should never have happened. This is terrorism,” she said as she urged for justice for her brother.

ANP to ‘side with truth’

Mashal was affiliated with the students’ wing of Awami National Party (ANP).

On Friday, ANP Mardan President Himayatullah Mayar met fellows of the deceased student and officials of the local administration and advised them to conduct a free and fair inquiry into the matter.

He also asked party leaders, workers and local activists to avoid commenting on the murder till final report of the incident comes forth. In a message to party workers, Mayar said the party would side with truth in the case.

Den of vandals

AWKUM students told The Nation on condition of anonymity that the university has become host to illegal activities since long. They said several students brought weapons inside the campus while the university administration and police never took any action. They said one of the key reasons behind deterioration of the university atmosphere was absence of key officials and heads of various departments.

FIR details

The FIR of student’s murder was registered at Sheikh Maltoon Police Station under sections 302, 148, 149, 297, 109, 427 and 7ATA on complaint of Station House Officer Muhammad Saleem Khan.

The 20 people nominated in the FIR were Ali Hussain, Wajahat and Sani, residents of Sawaldher; Mujibullah, resident of Lundkhwar; Imran and Anis, residents of Ghari Kapura; Shoaib, resident of Canal Road; University employee Nawab Ali; office assistant Ali Khan; superintendent Afsar Khan; Sajjad, a lower division clerk from Shergarh; Arif Khan, tehsil councillor Iram Colony; Afsar Afridi, resident of Tambulak; Nasurullah alias Nasir Afridi, resident of Rorya Qadeem; Farman, resident of Asmela; Ajmal Mayar and Imad, residents of Mayar; Abass alias Sheno, resident of Toti Khan Mohallah; and Sohrab, resident of Sector R, Sheikh Maltoon Town.

University admin report

Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan (AWKUM) Assistant Registrar Afzal Humayun sent a report about the incident to officials, including Secretary Higher Education, Mardan commissioner, regional police officer (RPO) and district police officer.

He stated in the report that on April 13, a group of students thronged department of journalism after [unconfirmed] reports emerged that three students – Mashal Khan, Zubair Khan and Abdullah – were involved in anti-Islamic activities.

It said, AWKUM Provost Fayaz Ali Shah, director administration and security in-charge along with police followed the mobbing students to the department to keep situation under control, but the students resorted to violence.

Chief Proctor Dr Idress and Ziaullah Hamdard, a lecturer at journalism department and director sports were already present in the office of the chairman of the department. Later, the mob attacked Hostel-1 and shot Mashal to death and wanted to set ablaze his body but the police dispersed the mob and brought situation under control. Abdullah was ‘arrested’ while Zubair could not be traced, the report said.

The report further stated that later it was decided to close all campuses and colleges of the university for an indefinite period. Further investigation in this regard is underway and a detailed report will be submitted shortly, the report concluded.

 

 

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 15-Apr-2017 here.