PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court bench orders today to district judge of Mardan to investigate the local prison for Mashal lynching case trial by an anti-terrorism court and produce a report before the next hearing.

Chief Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Abdul Shakoor arranged 20 July for the next hearing. Mashal’s father, Iqbal Khan has filed a petition under Section 28 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, and requested the court to shift the case trail from Mardan anti-terrorism court to Haripur or any other district.

The advocate general (AG) said he had earlier produced a report on the matter on behalf of the provincial government. As the government had no objection over shifting trial of the case to any other district.

He further added, ““The government believed that Haripur jail was suitable for trial in the case, as compared to Peshawar jail. However order was made by the high court, the government would comply with it and ensure complete measures for the trial”.

The petitioner stated the open trial in a matter of a very sensitive nature was not possible and therefore, trial should be conducted inside the prison to protect witnesses, judges and lawyers from any harm.

The petitioner further added that the trial in Mardan would create a serious situation pressuring both witnesses and him into making a compromise and forcing the prosecution witnesses into changing their statements.

Advocates Akber Ali Shah, Yousaf Shah, Enayat Bacha appeared for several of the accused persons whereas Advocate Abdul Lateef Afridi appeared for the petitioner.

The lawyers for the accused state that Mardan jail was a high security prison and suitable for conducting trial there.

“As shifting trail of the case to Haripur would create multiple problems. The accused were in large number and they would have to be shifted to Haripur prison and their relatives have also to visit that district to meet them and to attend proceedings”. He added.