An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Peshawar on Saturday deferred the verdict of Mashal murder case.The four suspects Asad Katling, Sabir Mayar, Arif Khan Mardanwi and Izharullah were produced before the court amid tight security. The verdict has been postponed until March 21.Mashal Khan, a mass communication student at Mardan’s Abdul Wali Khan University, was lynched to death by a mob of angry students on April 13, 2017 over rumors that he and his friends committed blasphemy. On February 8 last year, the anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Haripur had sentenced accused Imran to death and five others to 25 years in jail.ATC Jugde Fazal Khan Subhan read out the verdicts against each of the 57 men accused in the case one-by-one. Tight security arrangements were in place due to the sensitivity of the case, with roads leading to the Haripur Central jail being closed. The court had also acquitted 26 people in the case.After Mashal’s murder, Supreme Court of Pakistan’s chief justice took notice and ordered a judicial inquiry. For this purpose, a joint investigation team was formed to investigate what led to the gruesome murder.The JIT report had revealed that the lynching Mashal who was falsely accused of blasphemy was organized by other students from his own secular political group who viewed him as a rival and faculty members who resented his criticism of the university.Published in Daily Times, March 17th 2019.