Religious parties protest Mashal case verdict

ISLAMABAD: Thousands of activists of religious parties, including Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Tahaffuz Khatm-i-Nabuwat Organisation Friday held a demonstration in Mardan, a district of Khyber Pakhtunkhaw (KP), demanding release of 31 men convicted in Mashal Khan murder case.

Addressing the protest, JI leader Advocate Syed Akhtar said that such incidents could not be stopped if blasphemy accused were not convicted by courts.

“We will block all the roads and disrupt the communication system if all those convicted in the case are punished,” he warned.

People were holding banners inscribed with slogans “if you can stop us come and stop”.

When contacted, JI KP leader Mushtaq Ahmad said, “Not only the JI but also the JUI-F, ANP, PPP were part of the protest, promoting awareness about the importance of finality of prophethood.

Talking to Daily Times, Himayatullah Mayar, an active worker of ANP in Mardan, said: “We condemn the murder of Mashal Khan and we are not part of the protest as mentioned by the JI leader. He said “JUI-F and JI were the sole parties actively involved in this movement”.

However, according to journalists working in Mardan, activists from the Awami National party also attended the protest.

It might be mentioned here that those who were acquitted by the court in the case had received a hero welcome.

Addressing the gathering, one of the acquitted men, Ajmal Mayar, said: “We are ready to sacrifices our lives for the cause and we will do it in future as well as it is part of our faith.”

Ajmal Mayar was a member of the Pakhtun Students Federation, a student wing of the Awami National Party, when Mashal Khan was lynched in the premises of the Abdul Wali Khan University.

On Wednesday, an anti-terrorism court in Haripur gave death sentence on multiple counts to one convict and life terms to five others. As many as 25 others convicted in the case were sentenced to four-year prison terms while 26 suspects were acquitted for insufficient evidence.

Abdul-Wali Khan University’s student Mashal Khan was lynched on campus by a mob in April last year.

Published in Daily Times, February 10th 2018.