PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Monday ordered the transfer of appeals challenging the anti-terrorism court’s verdict in the Mashal Khan lynching case from its regional bench in Abbottabad to Peshawar.
This order came on a petition filed by the provincial government seeking transfer of the appeals from Abbottabad to Peshawar for hearing at the high court’s principal seat.
The provincial government and parties involved in the case had earlier filed appeals in PHC, challenging the verdict of the ATC in the case.
On February 8, an anti-terrorism court in Haripur jail had given the verdict in Mashal Khan lynching case, under which one person was given the death sentence, five persons were given multiple terms of life imprisonment, and 25 others received jail sentences. The court also acquitted 26 people in the case.
On April 13, 2017, Mashal Khan, 23, a student at the Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan was lynched by a mob, allegedly comprising of his fellow students riled up by allegations of blasphemy against the young man. As details of this bone-chilling event, including a video recording of the event, were reported, a different picture started to emerge— one that had nothing to do with blasphemy.
It is pertinent to note here that the joint investigation team (JIT) tasked by the court with probing the murder of Mashal Khan also found the student had not committed blasphemy. The JIT in its report stated that a group in the university had incited a mob against the 23-year-old on the pretext of blasphemy.