ANP defends fielding Mashal murder apologist


PESHAWAR: The Awami National Party (ANP) has defended the award of ticket to Himayatullah Mayar, who had shielded some of the accused in the murder of Mashal Khan, a student of Journalism and Mass Communication Department at the Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan.

The ANP leader has issued a show-cause notice for deviating from the party position as well. Himayatullah Mayar reportedly apologised to the party leaders for his attitude in the Mashal Khan lynching case saying, “we are staunch Muslims and our religion preaches peace”.

Sardar Hussain Babak, who is also secretary of the parliamentary board said the ANP’s stance on every issue revolves around the fact that when the entire society gets polluted, nobody can deny the prevalence of religious fanaticism”. He added that ANP, however, is ‘maintaining its moderate liberal position on major issues’.

Himayatullah Mayar, who was the district nazim for Mardan at the time of Mashal Khan’s lynching, had advised the party workers to avoid commenting on his murder.

Mashal Khan was lynched by a mob of students, employees of the university and some outsiders at the university campus in Mardan on April 13 last year after being accused of committing blasphemy.

The Anti-Terrorism Court had handed death sentence to one accused, life terms to five others while 25 accused were awarded three-year jail terms. However, 26 other accused were acquitted. Himayatullah Mayar has been given the ANP ticket to contest for the provincial assembly seat, PK-51 Mardan, in the election on July 25.