Lynching suspect gives statement: ‘University administration asked me to testify against Mashal’

mk1A student arrested in the Mashal Khan lynching case on Monday has said that the administration of Abdul Wali Khan University asked him to testify against the deceased.

The accused, Wajahat, admitted that he was part of the mob which lynched the 23-year-old Mardan university student.

His statement comes hours after Abdullah, a student who survived despite being beaten violently, said he was asked to testify that Mashal had committed blasphemy — a request which he refused.

Suspect Wajahat also claimed in his statement that on April 13 he was called to the chairman’s office by class representative Mudassir Bashir, who asked him to testify against Mashal before the university administration.

“Some 15 to 20 people, including university officials were present at the chairman’s office.”

“The administration had convened the meeting to decide the case of Mashal Khan and Bashir had called me to be a witness regarding the blasphemous ideas of Mashal Khan,” said the accused. Despite senior police officials saying they have found no evidence to suggest Mashal had engaged in activity amounting to blasphemy, Wajahat claims Mashal ‘committed blasphemy’.

He also alleged that the security in-charge of the university, Bilal Baksh, said those that step forward to protect Mashal and his supporters would be dealt with “an iron hand”.

Baksh, according to Wajahat, further said that he would kill Mashal.

“Hearing this, the congress turned into a violent mob and rushed towards the hostel,” said Wajahat.

In the statement, Wajahat has said that if he had known what the administration was conspiring against Mashal, he would have never come to the university on that day.

On April 13, Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan student Mashal Khan, 23, was shot and beaten to death by a violent mob on university premises.

The mob had also wanted to burn his body before police intervened, a senior police official had said. He had been accused of blasphemy by fellow students.

Another student, Abdullah, was beaten bloody before police managed to rescue him from his attackers. An eyewitness said he was accused of belonging to the Ahmadi faith and forced to recite verses from the Holy Quran, then beaten savagely even though he repeatedly denied the accusation.

No case had been filed against the two students prior to the incident and police had not been investigating the two on blasphemy charges.

The mob instead seems to have been incited by rumours circulating among the university’s student body.

Nonetheless, the university said it would investigate three students, including Mashal and Abdullah, for alleged blasphemous activities and ordered them rusticated and banned from the premises of all campuses of the university.

The notification, dated April 13, did not mention any details of the incident or a condemnation of the student’s killing, even though the university’s provost, Fayyaz Ali Shah, said it had been issued after the lynching.

However, Khyber Pakhtun­khwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Saturday told the KP assembly that no evidence had been found to suggest that Mashal Khan had committed blasphemy.

“The mobile phone record of the victim has been checked by the police but there was nothing against Islam,” he told the province’s lawmakers.

“Since the occurrence of the incident, I have been in contact with the inspector general of police; so far, no evidence has emerged to show that blasphemy was committed by the victim,” he said, adding that such brutality would not be tolerated.

A judicial inquiry was ordered into the case. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has also taken notice of the incident. -DN

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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