- PTI Councilor Mohammed Arif handed over to police for physical remand
PESHAWAR: Mashal Khan’s father on Friday said that the anti-terrorism court (ATC) gave a verdict on Mashal Khan lynching case in the absence of the complainant’s family and lawyers.
While addressing a press conference, Iqbal reiterated that the release of the 26 accused showed leniency towards people charged with terrorism.
Referring to the arrest of the prime suspect in the case Mohammad Arif from Mardan, Mashal’s father said that the accused was deliberately arrested after the lapse of a year in order to give him a lenient punishment.
Iqbal demanded that the Supreme Court should take a suo motu notice over his son’s murder. He reiterated that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government had provided him with a lawyer but had not paid his fees yet.
Counsel on Mashal’s case, Fazal Khan, who was present at the press conference, said that Imran Khan, chief of KP’s ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, had praised the police but it took them a year to make progress.
The verdict has been challenged in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) in which Mashal’s brother Aimal Khan expressed reservations over the verdict, stating that the people who were acquitted could clearly be seen in the video.
ARIF HANDED OVER FOR PHYSICAL REMAND:
Earlier on Friday, An ATC on Friday handed over one of the key suspects in Mashal Khan lynching case, PTI councillor Mohammed Arif, to police on a three-day physical remand.
A day earlier, the KP police arrested the PTI councillor from near the Chamkar Union Council of the Mardan district.
Reports say Arif had escaped to Turkey to avoid being caught in the case after a video of him warning a crowd to keep the name of the person who fired shots at Mashal secret surfaced.
A special operations team arrested the accused from Mardan’s Ring Road Chamkar area after his return from Turkey.
In February, an ATC convicted 31 out of 57 suspects in the Mashal Khan lynching case; however, the parents of the brutally murdered student protested the acquittal of the other 26 suspects, saying the verdict had delivered “incomplete justice”.
Mashal Khan’s father Muhammad Iqbal Khan had submitted additional appeals against the decision of (ATC) in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) in which he challenged the acquittal of 26 accused. The appeals also called for the conviction and punishment of 25 persons, who were given four years of punishment.
It was reported on February 21 that three suspects, including the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) councillor, were on the run. Out of the total 61 accused in the case, 57 were tried in the ATC, out of which 26 were acquitted. Another prime suspect, Izharullah aka Johnny, was arrested by the KP police in January 2018, taking the tally to 58.
In April last year, Mashal Khan, 23, a student at Mardan’s Abdul Wali Khan University was lynched by a mob, allegedly comprising his fellow students, riled up by allegations of blasphemy against the young man. The event had shaken the nation, with a large number of people coming out on roads against the grisly murder, and a video footage of the incident making rounds on mainstream and social media.