Oxford, United Kingdom -  In an emotional and rousing talk on Monday at Worcester College in Oxford, Muhammad Iqbal Khan, father of Mashal Khan spoke about his son and the tragedy he and Pakistan have faced from the reign of mob violence and hate.

The Oxford-Pakistan Society hosted Muhammad Iqbal. He was introduced by Malala Yousafzai, who called Mashal Khan a brilliant student of journalism and a beautiful human being. Introducing his father she said, "Mashal Khan’s story shook the world and it was devastating and painful for his family. I look up to you and salute your bravery."

Mashal Khan, a student at the Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, was killed by an angry mob in the premises of the university on April 13, 2017, over fake allegations of posting blasphemous content online.

Iqbal Khan took the stage and talked about Mashal's love for knowledge. For Mashal, knowledge meant meaningful reflection on the self. At home Mashal would debate and argue with his siblings, without anyone taking offence. The only hope for peace came from knowledge. Mashal believed in serving humanity and in equality among humans. He quoted Mashal's last words: "You can kill my being but you cannot kill my ideas. When you kill me you kill yourselves."

Iqbal said Mashal was of the view that Allah made the world and its joys for all humans, and everyone had a right to them, but not the right to own them. Those who usurp are "fasadis" and Allah only loves those who love. Caste, creed and skin colour do not matter. He said that Mashal was a pacifist and a sufi at heart. Mashal was of the view that in a state of nature people lived in harmony. With the coming of the states, self interest came into being, "An eye for an eye fitted into your eye socket, a tooth for a tooth fitted into your own... Man kills and maims and lives only for himself."

Such errors must be taken away from society, and Mashal wanted that. He was pro-poor and pro-democracy and he said that the first step towards serving humanity must be taken alone by the self, once you take the step, Allah will help. Mashal used to say that in Pakistan we see only women's clothes and not their poverty, nor do we realise that God's earth is not just for men but animals.

Iqbal said that Pakistan needs its students, labourers, farmers and women organisations should come together to protect Pakistan. They must become a sea of marshals and fight through the darkness with non-violence. "There is no loss in this, only victory."

His speech was made in Urdu, interspersed with Pasto verses.

At the end, he said he was pleased to meet Malala and never thought this would be possible, but life events had brought him here. He said that his Mashal could not come back, but maybe we can protect all the other Mashals in Pakistan. He prayed for the prosperity and dignity of Pakistan to be restored.

When asked about his wife and daughters, he said that his wife would cry every time she remembered Mashal, and his daughters, since the death, had not been able to go to college because of threats. He said they were brilliant students, but have had to let go of the quest for knowledge.

He said he was waiting for the decision of the case on February 7, and hoped it was in his favour. He felt it was one way for the writ of the state to be restored, and that the mob that killed his son had challenged the state itself.

Mob violence is rife in Pakistan, as are blasphemy accusations. Last week, at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Islamia College in Shabqadar, a student present at the Islamabad protests killed his principal on the pretext of ‘blasphemy’ when the principal questioned his absence from classes. Those accused of blasphemy are subject to harassment, threats, and attacks. We can only hope that the appeals of a grieving father do not go unheard in the face of radical vigilante mob justice.