SWABI - Mashal Khan’s mother and other members of his family have expressed strong reservations about the anti-terrorism court verdict handed down in the murder case on Wednesday.

The court has awarded death sentence to one accused, life imprisonment to five, and exonerated 26 out of 58 accused in Mashal murder case.

Mashal was brutally killed on April 13 on the campus of Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan.

Before the announcement of the verdict, the mother and two sisters of Mashal had gone to a nearby religious institution for Khatmul Quran, and had remained there till the announcement of the verdict.

They said that they were actually not satisfied with the court’s verdict and were expecting much more from the court. They said that Iqbal Khan, Mashal’s father, had gone to England and was expected to return on February 17. Khan’s father, Iqbal Khan, said justice had not been done in the case. “I don’t understand how several people were acquitted despite very clear videos and other evidence,” he told BBC.

The four members of the family present were Mashal’s mother, brother, Aimal Iqbal, two sisters, Storia Iqbal and Saba Iqbal. All of them expressed reservations about the verdict.

Reacting to the court’s decision, Mashal’s mother told media: “My son was brutally killed in a university. We wanted justice but it was destroyed in the court.”

She said that they would move the Peshawar High Court and even the Supreme Court to get justice. The struggle for justice would not be stopped and it will continue, she said.

Mashal’s mother questioned that were those acquitted by the court not present in the recorded videos. Had they not gone there to target his son? she said. What was their intention [for going to] the crime scene, she asked. “All the accused were involved in the killing of my son,” she claimed.

In reply to a question, she said that she was satisfied with the death sentence and life imprisonment given but wanted punishment for all the accused. She opposed acquittal of the 26 accused.

Answering another query, she said that his son was killed but more painful was that his body was ‘insulted’. “His legs and hands were broken, and there was no place on his face where I could kiss him. The killing and the way his body was insulted still echoes in my mind and it would haunt me till my death,” she said.

Mashal’s mother said that it was clear who were involved in her son’s murder. She said it was important to punish all of the accused to stop such an incident from ever happening again.

She claimed that videos were available where others had admitted to involvement in murder of her son.

Aimal Iqbal, Mashal’s brother said that their legal team would discuss the verdict in detail very soon, and after that they would adopt a policy that what should be done, and in the light of their decision they would take any further step.

However, in the same breath, he said that they might go to the court against all those who had been acquitted by the ATC, while demanding punishment for all those who were involved in the brutal murder of his brother.

They welcomed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s announcement to file an appeal in the court for extreme punishment for all accused.

Meanwhile, PTI leader and an MPA, Shaukat Yousafzai told media persons that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government would challenge acquittal in the case.