- Suspects acquitted in Mashal murder case to by honoured religious parties
- JUI-F, JI will hold protest after Friday prayers under banner of ‘Khatm-i-Nabuwwat Mardan’
- JUI-F terms killer of Mashal as ‘lover’ of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) while glorifying violence
PESHAWAR: The politico-religious parties of Mardan are all set to protest the Mashal Khan murder verdict— that convicted 31 out 57 accused – on Friday.
On Wednesday, while reading out the verdict, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Haripur handed out a death sentence on two counts to one suspect, convicted five to life imprisonment, awarded four years in jail to 25 others and acquitted 26 suspects in the murder case.
The protest sponsored by the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Maulana Samiul Haq’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S) will be held after Friday prayers at a mosque in Mardan, under the banner of ‘Khatm-i-Nabuwwat Mardan’.
The religious parties’ activists, particularity JI’s, also held a welcome ceremony for the acquitted accused on Thursday.
“The Haripur ATC honourably acquitted 26 individuals in the Mashal Khan case. This means they are innocent and today we are gathered to give them an exemplary welcome,” a Mardan-based JI leader told a local media outlet.
Sharing the reasons behind the Friday’s protests, JUI-F’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa General Secretary Shujaul Mulk, he said these acquitted accused will address the protesters and share their ‘ordeal’.
He also alleged that the men arrested for the murder of Mashal were beaten and forced confessions were extracted from them.
Mulk said that the court may have sentenced one ‘lover’ of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to death, “but that there are thousands more Imrans on the streets” ready to act.
Rejecting the government’s verdict, the JUI-F leader said that the party will challenge the sentence handed out to 31 accused in the case in Supreme Court.
Warning the government against challenging the acquittal, he said the appeal against acquittals “will hurt the sentiments of Muslims” that may “may spark protests across the country.”
A formal decision in this regard will be made at the gathering, he said.
On Wednesday, the JUI-F and JI’s workers had gathered at the Mardan Motorway Interchange and protested against the verdict given by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in the Mashal Khan murder case.
The charged crowd had chanted slogans against the slain student Mashal Khan and vowed to challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court.
On April 13, 2017, Mashal Khan, 23, a student at the Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan was lynched by a mob, allegedly comprising of his fellow students riled up by allegations of blasphemy against the young man. As details of this bone-chilling event, including a video recording of the event, were reported, a different picture started to emerge— one that had nothing to do with blasphemy.