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I was forced to testify against Mashal but refused, says Mardan lynching survivor

Updated Apr 17, 2017 09:50pm

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Abdullah, one of the three students accused of spreading "blasphemous content" by the mob that killed Mashal Khan, has rejected all allegations against him.

In a statement recorded before a judicial magistrate in Mardan, Abdullah said a group of students accused him, Mashal and a third student, Zubair with blasphemy, a charge he rejected.

The students, which included Muhammad Abbas, Mudassir Bashir (the class representative) and some other students, also asked Abdullah to testify that Mashal had committed blasphemy, which he refused.

Abdullah was later attacked by the same students while he was hiding in the bathroom of the chairman's office until he was rescued by the police, his statement said.

Abdullah said his friendship with Mashal had developed two months ago as the two shared similar views.

Giving his account of the events that unfolded prior to Mashal's lynching, Abdullah said on April 13, around 11am, Muhammad Abbas called him and asked him to come to the journalism department.

When Abdullah reached there, he found Mudassir Bashir (the class representative) and some other students who charged him and Mashal with blasphemy and alleged that they had "deviated from the right path, along with Zubair".

When Abdullah refuted the allegations and recited the Kalma-i-Tayyaba to prove them wrong, the students asked him to instead testify that Mashal had committed blasphemy and "has evil designs towards the religion of Islam".

"But I refused as I never heard any unparliamentary, scandalous as well as blasphemous words from Mashal's mouth," Abdullah said in his statement.

During the course of these events, three teachers locked Abdullah in the bathroom of the chairman's office purportedly to save him from the enraged students. While the teachers were trying to diffuse the situation, a mob had started to gather. At this time, according to Abdullah, Mashal was "reportedly in the hostel".

The mob broke down the bathroom door and beat Abdullah up "with fists and blows", until he was rescued by local police and some sympathising students.

Abdullah said he found out in the hospital that Mashal had been "brutally murdered" by the students. He claimed that he can identify some of the attackers behind Mashal's lynching through video footage.

Abdullah said he voluntarily contacted police to record his statement, adding: "I want justice not only for me but for Mashal Khan as well as we were innocent."

The lynching survivor further said prior to the events of April 13, the university administration "was deadly against Mashal Khan" because he had criticised the loopholes in the university's administration and the misuse of authority by university officials.

No evidence that Mardan university students committed blasphemy: IG KP

Inspector General Police (IGP) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Salahuddin Khan Mehsud on Monday said an initial investigation into Mashal's lynching last week revealed there was nothing concrete to suggest that any of the three accused had committed blasphemy.

IG KPK Salahuddin Khan Mehsud ─ DawnNews
IG KPK Salahuddin Khan Mehsud ─ DawnNews

"There is nothing concrete to suggest that Mashal, Abdullah, or Zubair had committed blasphemy, according to the investigation," Mehsud said.

The KP police chief said 59 suspects had been arrested in connection with the case, out of which six were university officials.

Police had registered a first investigation report (FIR) against 20 suspects, of which 16 have been arrested so far.

The IG stated that during the investigation 11 more suspects were identified, of which six have been arrested.

"This university has been problematic in the past, and our police officers frequently come and go on campus," he said. "There is a disciplinary problem with the students at the university."

The investigating officers did not find anything implicating the victims prior to the murder, but after the lynching, "lots of activity started to occur on social media," the IG KP said, adding that the police had sought the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) help to investigate blasphemous content on social media.

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Comments (83) Closed



Fawzia H Apr 17, 2017 01:20pm

Blasphemy or no blasphemy. Where was internal university security ? Or is there no security for the residents and day students. No one is safe anymore. Who were these people who so callously took the life of another. I don't want to believe they are from my country.

mansha sherazi Apr 17, 2017 01:22pm

The Government should not spare the culprits, who have martyred an innocent soul during the broad day light and in the presence of hundreds of people, they should be awarded with harsh punishment, there should be no leniency of any sort. Islam has not permitted such brutalities.

MB Apr 17, 2017 01:22pm

ok but this would be a crime EVEN IF HE HAD

Akram Apr 17, 2017 01:25pm

So the murder was cold blooded and of an innocent person. Punishment should be swift and exemplary

Anam Apr 17, 2017 01:27pm

Policemen were there and they did nothing even if they were in small number ,they could have called for help (more police)..but useless they were spectators so u all are equally responsible ....

Muhammed asim Rao Apr 17, 2017 01:29pm

All 59 (if found hitting him) should be Punished to MAXIMUM of the law.

all guilty ones should be punished so as to make an example for others and this punishment be so severe that no one dares even think about such a thing in future ...

alien Apr 17, 2017 01:31pm

It does not matter if he has or has not committed offence , who give right to the public to execute him without giving him a chance to explain..

RoHail Apr 17, 2017 01:37pm

We are already aware of this. Please reveal the party affiliations of prime suspects.

Farhan Apr 17, 2017 01:39pm

Justice delayed is justice denied.

Punish these culprits right away. Dare others not repeat what they have done.

Adeel Siddiqie Apr 17, 2017 01:40pm

Does that even matter an iota? As if then the killing could me condoned? I don't understand this mindset. I keep on reading these kind of statements. It shows how crooked and backward thinking is.

Sheikh Apr 17, 2017 01:41pm

This case is a clear example of the lawlessness that prevails in this country. There is no hope from the police, the judicial system, or any other state institution. The systematic erosion of the institutions have led us to this point and the current government is the main culprit.

I pray for Mashal Khan's parents, family, and for this country.

Nasir Apr 17, 2017 01:42pm

How pathetic- why are we questioning what the victim may have or may not have done - the emphasis should be on the crime that has been committed - MURDER

imran khan soomro Apr 17, 2017 01:43pm

Time to punish "pioneers of darkness", who brutally lynched a living human being.

Raaz Apr 17, 2017 01:43pm

Does he imply that if evidence is found the lynching is ok

Waaris Apr 17, 2017 01:50pm

Even if there was no evidence, we need to find out why and on whose instructions Mashal Khan was so brutally murdered in cold blood. History has taught us that in such awful acts there is always an executor and a facilitator.

Ahmed Ali Khan Apr 17, 2017 01:51pm

This is a cold blooded murder and should be treated as such. If any student political parties are found to be involved, they should be banned from other campuses as well.

LAST COMMENT Apr 17, 2017 01:54pm

A new low for us.

Umair Apr 17, 2017 02:00pm

They are not getting it. Blasphemy committed or not committed. Its not the issue. Blasphemy is used to settle scores so evidence or no evidence is a later issue after human beings are killed brutally so whats the point.

Pakistani Apr 17, 2017 02:02pm

Would the brutal killing be justified if he had committed blasphemy? This is the question we need to ask ..

MJK Apr 17, 2017 02:05pm

Kudos to KPK police. Glad to know that investigation is on the fast track. It is not only Mardan University, other institutions like Punjab university for years has been the center of hooliganism. It was the lack of discipline ,lack of close supervision by the university which led to the lynching of Mashall Khan.

Naveed Jafri Apr 17, 2017 02:09pm

Will this make any difference now

tRUTH HURTS Apr 17, 2017 02:10pm

At last, Pakistan is on the move; in the right direction. Be bold to revise blasphemy laws and prevent its misusing.

adil shah Apr 17, 2017 02:13pm

Now, first of all punish the University Official who issued false notification. Also those who took law in their hands. Security Officials, present in University at that time are equally responsible for this brutal murder.

ROMA Apr 17, 2017 02:15pm

The KP gov and police have handled this case with a maturity and wisdom that is seldom seen in Pakistan. Condemned and initiated investigation almost immediately, arrested the imam who refused to lead Mashal's funeral rites, and haven't once blamed some non-existent land dispute for the brutal killing. Hope remains.

nuzhat shireen Apr 17, 2017 02:18pm

The notification of university is main cause of murder of innocent boy.

Madness Apr 17, 2017 02:35pm

This is a phoney argument whether the man committed blasphemy or not. The point is you can't have a bunch of thugs going round taking the law into its own hands.

Usman Sheikh Apr 17, 2017 02:38pm

The students were jumping on Mashal and stamping on him. I saw the video. Like a bunch of wild animals. It was sickening to see.

yawar Apr 17, 2017 02:39pm

Unfortunately, we all have failed tribally in reforming into a decent nation.

SAEED MASOOD Apr 17, 2017 02:47pm

The more the people will be arrested the more the crime will get diluted, the judge will not hold 22 people responsible in one murder, the police should pin point the real murderer and the law should give them a befitting punishment...

AhmAd Apr 17, 2017 03:01pm

If there is a discipline issue, this university should be shut down.

Fareed N Apr 17, 2017 03:02pm

The major fault line in our university system is the presence of professional agitators supported financially by the political parties of the country. Example , IJT the student wing of Jamaat-i-Islami in Punjab University, student wing of MQM in Karachi university aggressively , promote the agenda of their respective political parties leaving . Any deviation from their views invites violence. Mashal Khan probably had progressive thinking, an affront to deeply religious right wing segment of student community .

Jo Apr 17, 2017 03:05pm

Please don't fall for sob story. Each person involved must be served punishment. Otherwise these individuals will always believe they were right.

Wrong is wrong.

Abu HUMZA Apr 17, 2017 03:07pm

I want the guilty to be punished in an exemplary way, so one dare to take law in their own hands.

Jawad U Rahman Apr 17, 2017 03:14pm

What is the point of this investigation? Is mob lynching justified if blasphemy is suspected or may have occured?

Observer Apr 17, 2017 03:15pm

While the murderer who fired bullet to kill the young man may be one and receive maximum punishment but those who were there should also be punished. Unvi admin and student should also be investigated into for their respective roles in making this tragedy happen.

Muhammad Abdul Moiz Apr 17, 2017 03:24pm

It wont be stopped unless Govt will start executing laws properly. Laws are fine but its enforcers and executioners are biased and lazy. Whether one committed blasphemy or not, he should be trialed as per law and not by mobs.

aslam shaikh Apr 17, 2017 03:28pm

University management should also be investigated since Mashal gave an interview against them highlighting the financial in appropriations they were involved in.

Yakub Apr 17, 2017 03:28pm

@Umair I absolutely agree.

nuzhat shireen Apr 17, 2017 03:29pm

case should be tried in military court .

The Observer Apr 17, 2017 03:42pm

@Sheikh it is more of intolerance and lack of awareness

Umair Khan Apr 17, 2017 03:42pm

Turns out Mashal Khan is my relative. Only recognized him after looking at his father and mother. They used to visit my grandmother's house when I was a kid. They were always well informed and progressive people. Conservatives don't like such people.

butterfly Apr 17, 2017 03:49pm

Unfortunately punishing the youth involved will not solve the root cause of the problem.. the real perpetrators were probably sitting in their comfy rooms while they made all this happen... also we as a society are collectively responsible! We need to take a good look inside and fix the ills of our thinking!

athar Apr 17, 2017 04:06pm

Blasphemy Law will find another Mashal to be lynched for vested interests. In 60s Civil Rights movement had led to repeal of discriminatory rules against blacks.It is the responsibility of government to raise its level and save another Mashal from becoming victim.

Aslam Khan Apr 17, 2017 04:10pm

The Government shall look into and investigate lapses in the university administration and security system as what role they have played and why they were unable to stop this incident. Now the culprits are known without doubt, they shall be directed to anti-terrorism military courts for speedy conclusion of their destiny. No mercy with such people.

abid.akhund Apr 17, 2017 04:17pm

@Umair Khan yes you are right

Taimur Apr 17, 2017 04:17pm

Now the only question is that when those will be punished who killed Mashal. This is good Supreme court also took notice of this incident. Several minority members have been killed in recent years as somebody blamed them for blasphemy. It would be good if Supreme court also pay attention to such killings. According to the law of Pakistan minority members have equal rights.

F Khan Apr 17, 2017 04:24pm

There should also be a law against anyone who wrongly changes someone for blasphemy.This punishment should be equal to the crime itself.

's. Ali Apr 17, 2017 04:24pm

This is an absolute joke that they are stI'll looking for contents in his phone. Try and investigate the murder. Obviously your police officers were there and did nothing. KPK policing is absolutely shameless for letting this happen. I am from Mardan and absolutely embarrassed about this incident.

Asif A Shah Apr 17, 2017 04:26pm

The government should show some guts and repeal the blasphemy law in the wake of this horrible and tragic incident.

Zubair Apr 17, 2017 04:32pm

Killing any person whether he's innocent or not, is completely wrong! PAKISTAN Govt should be making amendments in the blasphemy law! How can you kill the person who is "Muslim" just like that????? Just feel disgrace to call myself a MUSLIM... pathetic display........

Khurram Apr 17, 2017 04:36pm

@butterfly How does it matter? How can someone commit murder on someone's behalf? Murderers must be punished first and of course the facilitators in due course.

Sallu Bhai Apr 17, 2017 04:37pm

Now the question is, will the responsible be given sentence or not?

DJ Apr 17, 2017 04:37pm

@Fawzia H Well said.Whole university administration should be accountable for this atrocity.

Sallu Bhai Apr 17, 2017 04:37pm

Blasphemy or NOT, no one has a right to take someone's life. You need to STOP playing GOD!

javed Apr 17, 2017 04:42pm

It would be a great show of solidarity with the heartbroken family of Mashal to have a rally participated by ALL progressive political parties.

Gerry D'Cunha Apr 17, 2017 04:51pm

Blasphemy law has also become a threat to the Muslims in Pakistan which needs some reform or amendment.

ROMA Apr 17, 2017 04:56pm

@ if you bother to read Abdullah's (a victim who survived) tale of events he clearly says the police helped save him from the mob. your being from mardan is irrelevant to the investigation and the workings of the police.

kaspar Apr 17, 2017 05:05pm

Many questions need to be answered by the University administration. Why didn't they call the security agencies forthwith. Why did they issue the notificat9ion to 'investigate the charges' of blasphemy' against three students? Are they so naive as not to know that such a notification would provoke the fanatics as they would take it as a tacit support of the administration for their 'cause'? What were they aiming to achieve from this investigation? The inquiry should now probe into the motives of the high university officials in this regard. Are these universities meant for students to acquire knowledge in a free and secure environment or do they want to turn out men and women of a particular set of mind?

khanm Apr 17, 2017 05:11pm

The bottom line is.... The laws are made to protect the lives and dignity..Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour ... If at my convenience I might break them, what would be their worth..

Ghani K Apr 17, 2017 05:31pm

Dissenting views , opinions in the politics are the corner stones of true democracy. Disagreement is fine without being hostile an violence. I guess Mashal Khan had progressive views an affront to the tunnel vision of ultra right wing leaning students.He was lynched to silence him.

Hussain Apr 17, 2017 05:43pm

This is really unfortunate and shocking. Mob justice can be discoraged with severe punishment to all those who are responsible for this tragedy. Punishment for all those who wereinvolved in beating and killing. Immediate ban on all kind of political activity and organizations in colleges and universities.

Waaris Apr 17, 2017 05:51pm

Abdullah, you are the real son of the soil. Don't give up telling the truth and help bring murderers and their facilitators to the ultimate justice. Bravo young man, we need more people like you!!

Mashal khan Apr 17, 2017 06:19pm

This seems to be a well co-ordinated plan aimed at setting up a precedent for silencing all progressive, liberal and progressive students.... Work of the real cancer- the deep establishment.

Waaris Apr 17, 2017 06:24pm

Those who forced Abdullah to testify must be considered as facilitator of the this ghastly cold blooded murder!!

Imran Apr 17, 2017 06:51pm

It is pretty obvious that a major fault lies with the University administration who need to be brought to task. It will be a shame if the naya KPK brushes this incident under the carpet.

Shakeel Ahmed Apr 17, 2017 07:17pm

Definitely perpetrated by the University to silence him for ever by using the easy route - the blasphemy trap. It seems to have backfired in this instance.

anwarsher Apr 17, 2017 07:19pm

The University Administration is complicit in the heinous crime. This university needs a competent Vice Chancellor.

BAshir Apr 17, 2017 07:19pm

A university of all places! What Irony that it should be at the heart of lies and political violence.

AKraam Apr 17, 2017 07:29pm

Can anybody from police to uni admin explain or justify that if Abdullah could be saved from charged mob why would not Mashal?? As both guys were accused of same offence

everyPakiisDawood Apr 17, 2017 07:32pm

@Madness what you have said is spot on There should be no one above law of land and if court thinks to punish with proper proceedings then its fine.

optimist Apr 17, 2017 07:40pm

When educated people commit such crimes its alarming. Justice should be swift and exemplary.

Hidden truth Apr 17, 2017 07:40pm

It is a premeditated murder by misusing blasphemy law.

Tahir A Apr 17, 2017 07:49pm

One of the teaching staff was interviewed by Saleem Sahafi on a TV program seen yesterdayand he mentioned he wasn't around at the university that particular day. We will now be hearing many instances of strange cases of absenteeism and no knowledge.

KJ Apr 17, 2017 07:56pm

@F Khan :"There should also be a law against anyone who wrongly changes someone for blasphemy."

Who will decide the right and wrong of it? The decision itself will become a debatable point, which will need another decision on the judgement of it - there is no ending to this madness. Bottom line, somebody making stupid remarks just needs to be ignored - that is all.

Farah (New York, USA) Apr 17, 2017 09:24pm

It's such a shame, where is government of Pakistan and what they are doing ? I am wondering what will be the future of Pakistan where students are getting killed because of personal disputes?

Aman Apr 17, 2017 09:33pm

Our institutions need to be cleaned out with all kind of politics, no matter if we need military to deploy, we need to clean our institutions form all kind of politics and the only purpose institutions should serve is to teach and learn.

Azad khial Apr 18, 2017 02:20am

@ROMA You are clearly a PTI troll. The first news regarding this horrifying murder clearly said there were several policemen present when the mob advanced on Mashal. Apparently the police did not intervene as there mob was "too big." Well what about firing some warning shots to try to disburse the mob. So what good is the suppposed online FIR and the revamped KP police if this incident can take place with police on the scene?

HSAEED01 Apr 18, 2017 05:22am

The fact that we need to have a conversation about the student who got brutally murdered did or did not commit blasphemy shows the degenerative mental state of all the authority involved. If there was any blasphemous content found, would that 'okay' the lynching of a student publicly without due process?

Thruth Apr 18, 2017 06:35am

It sad that this young fellow had to die like this. The incidence should be investigated and those involved in this brutal crime should be punished to fullest extent. No ifs and but.

Waseem Apr 18, 2017 08:14am

Why Police and other people are trying to prove or disprove blasphemy? Does it have any effect on the criminality of lynching? First police must resolve the case of murder without ifs and buts. In totally separate investigation against a different FIR, if there is any, they can work on blasphemy issue.

MK Apr 18, 2017 10:19am

The question is why was he really killed? Blasphemy is only a pretext. The boy in question seems to have been a good student. He could have been an Ahmeddi perhaps. Only the motive is unknown.

iqbal Apr 18, 2017 02:46pm

If the government was timely punished Sailkot two brothers lynching accused then this event can be prevented. If government fail to deliver justice then people take the law in thier own hand. Government should pass a law that anyone misused this law then he should be punished.. Lynching case are increase day by day, people are putting robbers on fire in Karachi

Saad Apr 19, 2017 06:07pm

Abdullah is very important in the case. He can identify several people in the video who killed the Mashal Khan. Identify those people and set an example. Killers, sympathizers and facilitators, all should be purged brutally. Even those Molvis, Imams, who tried to dirupt the funeral of the martyr should be punished. If we really want a peaceful Pakistan for our future generations we need to clear the system from such viruses.