Mardan Police on Thursday said they had arrested the prime suspect in connection with Mashal lynching case, reported Waqt News.

Mardan DIG Alam Khan Shinwari said Imran had confessed to shooting Mashal. “According to eyewitnesses, Imran shot Mashal. He was arrested on the information provided by other suspects in the lynching case.”

Shaiwari said police had collected evidence related to the case and a transparent inquiry was underway. “We have arrested 41 more people in connection with the case,” he added.

Hundreds of men attacked journalism student Mashal Khan, stripping, beating and shooting him before throwing him from the second floor of his hostel at the Abdul Wali Khan University in the northwestern town of Mardan.

Khan had been known for his liberal views, especially on Facebook, sparking blasphemy allegations against him.

The brutality of the attack, partly recorded on a mobile phone, provoked widespread condemnation, with protests in several cities over the weekend – although it took two days for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to speak out.

The lynching came in the wake of a government push to root out blasphemy, a hugely sensitive charge in Pakistan with even unproven allegations leading to dozens of mob lynchings and murders since 1990.

Last month Sharif swore blasphemers on social media would be prosecuted. The Interior Ministry also threatened to block social media websites with blasphemous content.