With a spank of high velocity, a life came to an end. He is dead one whispered to the other. Yes in the dormitory. God is great. God is great. Students and staff shouting in the chorus. To be students rushed like vultures to pick their bit of flesh.
They have thrown him from the second floor, the next one whispered. Mutilated, dishonoured, stoned and molested by so called students mob, the Jury of the day. Yes; it was by students, his own colleagues. An atmosphere of the holy festival was created, everyone shouting hoarse Allaho Akbar, then spitting and kicking the blasphemous dead body.
It is not a street, battlefield, bazaar but a citadel of high learning. The campus of a University named after a man who never used a harsh word in his lifetime. A born pacifist. It was the campus of Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan. Fear and anger kept the situation tense and mercurial. Fear of those who didn’t agree with vultures but were scared of clergy and anger of those, who were blind to reason and logic but wanted to silence a voice.
Not a young promising man was killed, a source of light was extinguished. Ignorance killed Knowledge, irrationality wiped out logic, and another naked wicked vulture mob robbed the citadel of high learning from its sanctity. A blooming rose was nipped in the bud, a family was stolen off its hopes, and a society was pushed into the dark.
Mashaal Khan as the name speaks was not an ordinary student, he could speak several languages. He was the student of the final semester of journalism, a profession which yet to get roots it the land of purest. He was usually not understood or misunderstood by ignorant mass as said by a teacher. The illiterate certificate holder muzzled literacy by pulling the trigger to get happiness. The only way to get rid of him was to declare him blasphemous. To silent, a reasonable and intelligent voice, scramble him/her with a Mullah or Military and do what you feel like. To get away with injustice, crime is the only ladder to climb upon. Ignorance is the igniting force. Criminality and ignorance are the lethal combinations. It was the culmination of the total failure of all strata of the society that resulted in Mashaal killing and the Indifference that stood to watch. The illiterate student’s mob was on the chase of literacy and enlightenment. It is a mindset and Mashal was the third victim. The Last two were Dr Najibuulah, a student of Engineering University who was lynched for playing the guitar. The recent incident in the Punjab University is still alive and pulsating that Mashaal fell to the forces of darkness.
After 69 years we are still dependent for everything on others. As an American diplomat complained that in Pakistan, Americans are held responsible from traffic Jam to change of government. It is by no means an exaggeration. Similarly, we hold Brits responsible for all our misfortune be it Kashmir or our education system without realising that they have left 69 years ago. Had we not made a start with shut mind we should have been the nation of scientists like Israel instead we are radicals and terrorists. We have failed to realise that Brits didn’t come to develop the subcontinent but to colonise it and develop their own country, this is what exactly they did. Though classed based but they did give us non-corrupted education system, communication, irrigation system and gave unity to the subcontinent. We should compare it with Moghuls they have certainly done far better if we remove the specs of that particular mindset. It is we who corrupted the system and made it more class based.
The US invested heavily in Pakistan, to find a foothold in South West Asia. They wanted a faithful ally and we have been so for till Mullah Mansoor was droned and seven F-16 were denied. We hope for better relation in the near future if we learn to differentiate between an ally and a friend.
The journey we started in still going on led by the same mindset. Intolerance and abuse of religion are the hallmarks of the society. Target killing, absconding, victimisation of the minorities and shrouding of enlightening thinking are norms of the day and if accused of any, the punishment is unthinkable. This Mindset has permeated each and every layer of the society the whole social structure of the society has collapsed. Mashaal was the victim of the mindset. Society has no mechanism in situ to deal with this gross aberration in human behaviour. The society has to abandon this guilt loaded indifferent attitude and compose itself that no other Mashaal life loose the warmth of life and the society loose the source of light.
It is irrelevant whether Mashaal did this sin or not the question which will determine the future is whether mob justice is justified or not???
Writer: Prof.(Dr) Khurshid Alam
The writer is a columnist with THE PASHTUN TIMES. He can be reached at
THE PASHTUN TIMES