PESHAWAR - Muhammad Iqbal, father of slain Mashal Khan has expressed dismay over the Peshawar High Court’s Abbottabad bench decision regarding acquittal of 25 convicted persons in the Mashal lynching case.

Iqbal has termed verdict “unilateral”, and appealed to the chief justice of the Supreme Court to take notice of the case by suspending order of the PHC Abbottabad registry in this regard.

Speaking at a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club on Friday, Iqbal said the Peshawar High Court Abbottabad bench had neither issued notice to him nor his counsels about the hearing of the case.

He said the court had given a verdict about acquittal of the 25 convicted persons in the Mashal murder case in their absence, which was unilateral and not meeting the legal requirements in the case.

Flanked by his counsels, Fazal Khan advocate and Ayaz Khan advocate, Iqbal said that a copy of the decision of PHC Abbottabad bench obtained by his counsel, in which the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Advocate General’s office stated to the bench that the provincial government would not have any objection to suspend the sentence of 25 convicted persons and appealed to grant them bail in the case.

He expressed resentment over the statement of the Additional Advocate-General of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, which he had given before the court.

Iqbal mentioned that there was no leniency for culprits arrested under the clauses of Terrorism Act.

But, he said the bench granted bail and acquittal order in the Mashal murder case.

Ayaz Khan advocate said the Peshawar High Court bench had no right to suspend the sentence in the case of Anti-Terrorism Court, adding the decision was not taken on merit.

He informed a petition was submitted in the court to increase the jail term period of the accused from existing four years.

Ayaz alleged the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government tried to directly get involved in the case.

Talking about the recent arrest of the alleged prime suspect Muhammad Arif in the Mashal lynching case, Fazal questioned that how the convicted persons in a murder case had managed to flee and then return to country.

He also questioned the capabilities of security and immigration staff at the Peshawar Airport in arrest of a person on his arrival, who was involved in a murder case.

Fazal also castigated Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan’s statement about appreciating Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Police for the arrest of another prime suspect in Mashal case.

He said it was complete failure of the police that a person was arrested after passage of one-year of the case.

Iqbal Khan appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo motu notice again in Mashal murder case, and ensure fulfilment of all legal requirements in the case and provide him justice by suspending the acquittal order in the case.

He called upon the parents, moderates, intellectuals, poets, writers, lawyers and journalists community to extend their support to him in the struggle for justice.

Iqbal also complained that attempts were being made to pressurise him and his family with various tactics.

He said that the government had provided a counsel to contest his son’s murder case, but the case fee was not yet paid to him.