While the Anti-Terrorism (ATC) court’s verdict on the murder of Mashal Khan received mixed reviews, there are some who have taken it in the most heinous meaning possible. A large group of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) workers gathered at the Mardan Motorway Interchange to protest an Anti-Terrorism Court’s (ATC) verdict in the Mashal Khan murder case. They had gathered together to “welcome” the 26 “heroes” who had been acquitted by the ATC, and celebrated them for committing the crime they had been acquitted for. JUI-F’s provincial general secretary Maulana Shujaul Mulk was also there, and rattled against the verdict and the government for supporting it.

We harshly condemn JUI-F for these activities of their members. Human decency and respect for law apart, the celebration of the crime also goes against the stance that all political parties have taken in the parliament when they unanimously condemned the murder and approved action against the culprits. This congregation reflects ease with which JUI-F members can show disregard for the law, the judiciary and the parliament; for precedent’s sake, such actions by a party should not be tolerated and strict action should be taken against those party members present, to preserve the respect of the parliament that parliamentarians keep complaining they aren’t given.

The most fundamental purpose of the case of Mashal Khan was to set an example; a deterrent to the society that this must never happen again. The murder was not an isolated murder committed in a selfish action, or by a mentally unwell person; it was reflective of an illness of our society, of mob violence, one we must do away with forever. In this way, we were expecting the decision to take the form of a landmark one, which is effective in deterring this societal evil. The decision might not have been enough, but in the spirit of the law, consequences must occur for those who incite further illegal action, which the congregants, when they called for celebration of the criminals, were guilty of doing so.

These JUI-F members must be taken action against and JUI-F leaders must condemn their action. Going must condemn them against such would be contempt of parliament and of the judiciary. If they fail to do so, PML-N must show political will and cut ties with the party. This move must be done to further disincentivise any extremist parties, who always just waiting for an opportunity to litter our roads with protests, to stay at home and respect law.