SWABI - Speakers at a jirga of political and religious parties on Monday unanimously demanded a speedy trial in Mashal murder case and punishment to all those involved in the incident.

Leaders of political and religious parties and members of the civil society and welfare bodies participated in the gathering held at Haqqani Library.

The gathering was organised by Mashal Forum, a body working for education of youngsters in the district.

Mashal, who belonged to Zaida city of the district, was brutally killed over alleged blasphemy at Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan by a violent mob on April 13.

Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) Central Information Secretary Salim Khan Advocate said that Mashal was targeted under a well-planned strategy because he had exposed all those involved in wrong practices at the university.

“Mashal, a brilliant son of the soil was vocal and said the right thing without any fear or hesitation, no matter if it was against any person,” he said.

“The investigation conducted by police has made it clear that Mashal was not involved in any blasphemy,” Salim said.

Former MNA Bushra Gohar said that the act of terrorism was conducted at the campus of the university which was built in the name of Khan Abdul Wali Khan.

“They killed the mashal (lamp) of education at the university,” she said.

In the same breath, Bushra Gohar said that they did not want to create an atmosphere of rivalry between the people of Mardan and Swabi.

However, she questioned that why some leaders and people supported the murderers. MNA Usman Khan Tarakai said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan had assured Mashal’s parents that those who planned his murder or participated in the brutal killing would be punished and made an example for the future generations.

“This is the policy of our party and we are committed to ensure justice,” he said.

Ameer Rehman, district Nazim who is also the President of Awami National Party (ANP) said that their party leadership sticks firmly to the non-violence philosophy of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan.

Those who violate this philosophy would no longer remain part of the party, he said.

The JI district Amir Mehmoodul Hassan said that Mashal’s killing was an act against humanity. The people who brutally killed him, what proof did they have against him, he asked. If not, why he was killed, he added.

He demanded that the provincial government should include in investigation the entire staff of the university and police officials.

The latter have their office just a few yards away from the university campus but despite that the violent mob gathered and killed Mashal, and the police force failed to protect him, he said.

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MNA Aqibullah said that those involved in the killing and in the conspiracy need to be exposed. Mashal was killed under the garb of blasphemy by a violent mob, he said. Such incidents should not be repeated in future, he demanded.

Muhammad Iqbal, Mashal’s father said that he did not want son or daughter of another father become a victim like his son, Mashal, in the campus of the university which is a place of acquiring education.

“I appeal to the brilliant people of the district to support me in this hour of great tragedy of my life,” he said.

“It has become clear from the investigation that my son never committed blasphemy,” Iqbal said.

He lauded the role played by media, leaders of political and religious parties , members of the civil society and people from various walks of life who supported his family during the unbelievable loss of their young and brilliant son, he said.

Liaquat Yousafzai, President Mashal Forum demanded that an exemplary punishment should be given to all those culprits involved in the horrific murder of Mashal. “I salute his parents who showed courage and advocated for justice and education,” he said.

Numerous other leaders of political parties and civil society also spoke on the occasion.

At the end, they constituted a Committee who would attend the Mashal case hearing in the Supreme Court.