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Pakistan university student beaten to death over alleged blasphemy

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister announced judicial inquiry of horrific incident as family of the slain student seeks justice

Image Credit: Facebook
Mashal Khan
Gulf News

Islamabad: Mashal khan, a student of Abdul Wali Khan University was killed and others wounded by a vigilante mob for alleged blasphemy on Thursday.

The incident occurred within the university premises in the city of Mardan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after which the campus was shut down and its hostels vacated.

Two students, Mashal and Abdullah, were attacked by a mob of students for allegedly “publishing blasphemous content online”, local police said.

More than 40 people have been arrested related to the incident by Thursday evening, according to Mardan District Police Officer Dr Mian Saeed.

On Thursday, the mob of 3,000 university students first surrounded Abdullah, forcing him to recite verses from the Quran.

Although he denied the accusation of being an Ahmadi, the mob beat him nonetheless.

He was rescued when the police reached the site.

However, the mob later turned to Mashal who was beaten and reportedly shot, an eyewitness were quoted as saying in local media.

Support for minorities

The 23-year old Mashal was active on Facebook and his social media statuses were in support of minorities.

Mashal was a journalism student at Abdul Wali Khan University.

Funeral prayers for Mashal were offered early Friday in Kalu Khan, Swabi District, where he was laid to rest.

On Friday evening, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak announced that a judicial inquiry will be conducted into the lynching of the young student in Mardan.

Attack condemned

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has strongly condemned the lynching of the student and has called for action against those responsible for the murder.

“Law of the jungle can’t prevail,” he said adding that “firm action is necessary.”

The video clip of the lynching and photos went viral on social media, leading to calls for strong action against all those involved in the atrocious crime.

Family of the slain student seek justice

Mashal’s family has demanded justice for his murder, terming the lynching an act of terrorism. “What [they] did to him, it should never have happened. This is terrorism,” Mashal’s grieving sister told to local TV channel Geo News.

Stressing for justice for his son, Mashal’s father Iqbal stressed that his son had always respected religion. Iqbal said the incident is a challenge to government’s writ. “It wasn’t just my son, other people were also injured. The government’s writ has been challenged,” he said.

Dared to dream big

The victim’s sister shared how her brother had always dared to dream big and inspired her to achieve her goals. Recalling his dreams, she said her brother wanted to win a Nobel Prize.

Mashal’s sister said her deceased brother had an earnest desire to seek knowledge. “Mashal always talked about the importance of education. He used to say life is not worth living without education.”

His father said that Mashal always gave references of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) as a role model every time during family discussions.

One of Mashal’s teachers later told Reuters that he was a passionate and critical student.

“He was brilliant and inquisitive, often complaining about the political system of the country, but I never heard him saying anything controversial against religion,” the teacher said.

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