Mashal Khan lynching case: Pakistan’s court announces verdict

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  BY Muhammad Luqman

An Anti-Terrorist Court in North-Western Pakistan district of Haripur on Wednesday announced its verdict of Mashal Khan lynching case, awarding capital punishment to one person and sentencing five people to 25 years imprisonment. Twenty six others were acquitted. According to media reports, the ATC Judge Fazal Khan Subhan read out the verdicts against each of the 57 arrested suspects presented before the court. “ I wish no one ever has to go through the ordeal my family has suffered,” Aimal Khan, the brother of  Mashal Khan told media after the announcement of the verdict. “We will consult our lawyers and see if we are satisfied with the verdict. My only appeal to the KP police is to arrest the rest of the suspects and bring them to justice as well,” Aimal said. Extra security arrangements were  made due to the sensitivity of the case, with roads leading to jail  closed. Mashal’s father Iqbal Khan is currently in London, while Mashal’s mother and sisters are in Swabi and will stay there due to security concerns. Security officials have been deployed outside their residence. 23-year-old Mashal Khan, a student of Mass Communications at Mardan’s Abdul Wali Khan University, was beaten and shot to death by an angry mob on April 13, 2017, after he was accused of blasphemy. The lynching took place within the premises of the university and was recorded on video which later became viral  on social media. The court  verdict in the case was reserved on January 27 after the court concluded the hearing of the case. A total of 61 accused, the majority of them students and university employees and a tehsil councillor of PTI, were directly charged in the FIR. Fifty seven of the accused were arrested within a few days of the occurrence, while another one was arrested only last month.

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