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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.