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As it happened: Mardan university professor recalls chaos of April 13

Updated Apr 18, 2017 08:13pm


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A lecturer from Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan who knew Mashal Khan personally has spoken at length about the events that led up to the 23-year-old's horrific murder by a crazed mob of students on Thursday, April 13 within the university's premises.

Ziaullah Hamdard, while appearing on Geo TV's 'Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath' on Monday evening, recalled: "I received a phone call from the department telling me that there were some students in the department trying to create some disruption and there was only one female teacher present in the whole department."

"I left the teaching hostel and reached the department within five to ten minutes, but when I reached there a mob was already starting to form. I asked a few of the students to come discuss the matter in my office," Hamdard narrated.

"While the students were sitting in my room and talking to me, Abdullah was in the university admin's room and texting Mashal about what was happening."

"During this time Mashal sent me two text messages telling me that this whole scenario is politically motivated and that he had not done anything that they were accusing him of."

"The university clerk, Anees, called Mashal with Abdullah's phone and told him to leave the university until the matter was resolved. He [said he] had left the university premises and we took a sigh of relief and focused on getting Abdullah out of the university premises,"

"The clerk moved Abdullah into the admin bathroom to keep him safe as the mob was getting bigger," Hamdard maintained.

"Those students sitting in my office were very angry: some said Mashal was a Russian spy, others said that he had posted blasphemous content on social media — but when I asked them about proof for either of these allegations, they did not have any,"

"While I was trying to calm them down, the mob outside my office was building up, and the university’s education and sports teachers also arrived at the scene. One of them told the crowd that if they think Mashal had committed blasphemy then the university will investigate the matter and rusticate the boys involved," Hamdard alleged.

"I expressed my displeasure at that and told the teacher he should not have said that. He replied saying 'I only did it so the crowd would disperse, the teachers can all sit down and discuss the matter once the students have settled down'. But before we could talk about it the mob started getting out of hand," Hamdard narrated.

"We arrived in the office where Abdullah was being hidden. The DSP police and other teachers were also there. We locked the room to keep him [Abdullah] safe but the mob was raging — they broke the door of my office and started hitting the other professors and myself," he said.

He added: "They threw me to one side while the DSP and the other professors tried to hold them off, eventually the got to the bathroom door, and dragged Abdullah out and started hitting him."

"More police arrived and they saved Abdullah," he said.

"The scene in front of my eyes distressed me greatly, once the crowd dispersed I made my way to the teaching hostel. A mob of students from different departments had gathered there and they were looking for me. They said I was a traitor and was hiding Mashal in my room," Hamdard said.

"I was satisfied that Mashal was not there so I confronted them and said they can come take a look at my room themselves."

"I quickly deleted Mashal's texts from my inbox and just in time, as they took my phone away and locked me in my hostel room, which they had trashed already."

"Some teachers got me out once the mob had left and I got into my car and made my way to the admin block"

"The teachers and administration there tried to calm me down. They were discussing if the university should remain open or should be shut, but none of them listened to what I had to say."

"In the meanwhile, someone said 'he has been killed' and I immediately asked if it was Abdullah that had lost his life. Someone replied, 'No, Mashal has been killed'."

"I was shocked; Mashal had assured me he had left the premises."

"The police officials escorted me out of the admin block and took me to the police lines."

"I have been receiving threats since the incident, but I am not afraid to tell the truth."

"I would like our ulema [religious scholars] to tell the nation that the religion does not allow anyone to take the law in their own hands."

The professor held the university's administration culpable in the crime. One of his more startling allegations was that a university-issued notification regarding an investigation into blasphemy committed by Mashal Khan, Abdullah and a third student, Zubair, was publicised only to divert blame away from the university's culpability in the incident.

"Those students that committed those heinous crimes were young, but these people in the university administration and faculty that cooked up that fake notification are adults and influential people."

"There is no fear of God left in them. They took out that notification naming Mashal after he had died and framed blasphemy charges against him — knowing that they were not true — just so the charge took the limelight in media," Hamdard said, visibly distressed.

"Fake accounts were created in Mashal's name on social media and [blasphemous] things were posted," Hamdard alleged.

"I haven't slept in four days thinking about the horror. I was Mashal's teacher and I was not able to save him. Those people were his teachers but they condemned him. Is this the way teachers are supposed to be?"

"I would like to apologise to Mashal's parents. I was unable to save him," Hamdard said on the show. "I knew Mashal, and by the looks of it, I seem to be the only one who knew Mashal as the humanist he was."

"He was interested in socialism and sufism; he studied the works of [Karl] Marx. People are trying to paint him as an extremist: he was nothing like that."

"I hardly ever saw him without a book. I often visited his dorm and we had intellectual discussions: he wanted to know more about philosophy."

"I used to call Mashal 'comrade', as he was a friend, a student, a brother a son, to me," Hamdard said.

"If ever I would have seen a single social media post or comment from Mashal that, even for a second, indicated that it would get him in trouble, I would have warned him — but there was no such indication," Hamdard said while discussing the false allegations that led to Mashal's lynching.

Hamdard concluded his interview by publicly resigning from the university.


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Comments (31) Closed

Nomi Goraya Apr 18, 2017 07:49pm

University is responsible for murder even KPK Police what is the use of police if it was not able to maintain law and order and save innocent life. why it felt to me that all wanted Meshal to be dead. so he is gone now sit and plan something else

Jaredlee67 Apr 18, 2017 08:04pm

This reminds me that there was a professor at LUMS who decided to teach real-life cases to MBA students to promote religious diversity. To some of his colleagues, it was a good idea, but others were concerned if teaching tolerance (especially religious diversity) would disturb extremists in the country. Interestingly, one specific case the professor wanted to discuss in his class was based on fiction, and not reality, and thus, was an excellent tool to teach religious diversity and tolerance. The professor was told not to use that case. But the professor, used his right to freedom of speech, and taught the course. He was shocked to see that a number of students were really resistant to the idea of religious diversity, let alone tolerance. The professor was passionate about his work and fearless. He foresaw how ugly things could get. And now almost a decade later, the nation has lost Mashal and that too in an academic institution. His sacrifice is a ray of hope. God bless Pakistan.

Asteroid Apr 18, 2017 08:12pm

@Nomi Goraya Police can not help if they were not called at the time of incident..Police does not have police station inside the university ..

Asif Apr 18, 2017 08:44pm

Teachers like him are a ray of hope.

Abid Hafeez Apr 18, 2017 08:48pm

I wonder why those who planned to murder Mishal did this planning at all? Was that out of jealousy or what?

saz Apr 18, 2017 08:52pm

@Asteroid there was DSP sitting there. Police made none or just feeble effort to protect him. None of the police officer was injured indicating they did nothing.

GODIS GREAT Apr 18, 2017 08:57pm

Where is Pakistan going with this type of cruel mindset

Harmony-1© Apr 18, 2017 08:59pm

@Nomi Goraya - Its nonsense blaming police like you did. No police in the world can foresee and prevent all crimes.

Like fire such violent acts of lynching only take minutes to cause harm and death. Crimes happen even in 'best' societies. Top Western nations have suffered many terrorist incidents; in USA there is random shooting on almost daily basis.

The real test is how the full force of the law applies is what matters in the end and don't let it become like Model Town incident!!!

AKRAM Apr 18, 2017 09:01pm

One thing that is not clear is why did the university administration and many students wanted to get rid of him? What had the 23 year old humble god-fearing man looted from those so-called religious thugs?

Owais mangal Apr 18, 2017 09:05pm

I simply hope that KPK govt. carries out exemplary investigation and court shows its guts to punish the ones responsible.

Folks, please keep in mind that Police investigates and courts deliberate. These are two different things.

Nomi Goraya Apr 18, 2017 09:06pm

@Harmony-1© Just read the news once again DSP was sitting right there when all was building up. I also do not like to blame on institutions but how can I read something and then say that I have not read it and close my eyes and say that all tried their best. Just read once more

Tahir Ullah Apr 18, 2017 09:33pm

Salute to sir hamdard sab. Men with such motivation are required for betterment of our society.

Tufal Khan Apr 18, 2017 09:36pm

These students were not kids , they were adults . They are 100% responsible for causing the death of the deceased . Nothing less than capital punishment for these students could be called justice . He did not have to prove to these students that he was innocent . These students who were standing around and celebrating his murder belong to the gallows. They and their supporters need to be given exemplary punishment.

Asteroid Apr 18, 2017 09:38pm

@saz Read this "They threw me to one side while the DSP and the other professors tried to hold them off," and again "More police arrived and they saved Abdullah," he said Police was doing job they were not just enjoying there read and understand ....

Hasan Apr 18, 2017 09:43pm

There are missing links that are puzzling. If few students wanted to give Mashal a lesson, there are other ways instead of calling him blasphemous and taking revenge.

missireallymiss Apr 18, 2017 10:02pm

@Hasan because you don't know all of the why...

PhilosoPher(from japan) Apr 18, 2017 10:19pm

Its very late professor a human has lost his innocent life under some ignorant people.

Alba Apr 18, 2017 11:12pm

@Tahir Ullah .... Indeed Ziaullah Hamdard represents the best kind of university professor.

Zak Apr 19, 2017 12:40am

After this the solution is simple, disband the entire Admin staff and students. And the government officers like DMO should re-hire , interview and recruit the entire university. Blashpemy law should be removed. This is not a university, it is a mafia controlled institution.

Zak Apr 19, 2017 12:43am

@Abid Hafeez corruption and Mashal was raising admin issues.

Ms Mandeep Kaur Apr 19, 2017 01:46am

@Harmony-1© The forming of mob and sloganeering would have given a person some idea as to what is about to happen. It is easy for a mob to go out of control and cause destruction which actually happened. It seems police were not equipped to handle the situation.

Syed zafar kazmi U.s.a Apr 19, 2017 02:01am

Every single university administration is not only complicit but a conniving source in the premeditated murder of Mashal and brutalizing of Abdullah. All those, the chairman, the security chief of the university & those who rusticated the already murdered Mashal and brutalized Abdallah must be charged with murder of This brilliant youth and they must be prosecuted and handed over death punishment along with the mob of students who attacked & killed Mashal. No leniency, no mercy should be shown to these criminals in the garb of noble professors.

AIMEN Apr 19, 2017 03:49am

@Abid Hafeez Not was because Mashal give an interview to khyber news two days before, where he exposed the corruption of the university's administration

Ps Apr 19, 2017 05:26am

@Nomi Goraya and there is no responsibility of the religion itself? No responsibility of the blind "can not be questioned" attitude?

MG Apr 19, 2017 06:29am

God save this teacher

On-POint Apr 19, 2017 06:48am

I watched this interview. Salute to Sir Zia-ullah Hamdard. As long as we have selfless, dedicated, honest, brave and teachers with such integrity there is always hope of good coming out of Pakistan.

A lot of expectation from our KPK government and our over-hauled police in KPK. The nation look forward to you two for swift and timely justice.

Attaullah Apr 19, 2017 08:05am

Teachers like Hamdard are the real teachers;logical,rational.Except him the people who were teaching there can't be called teachers,they are monsters or can be called sheep in wolf's clothing. We can't cute this intolerance as those who are at higher echelons,teaching in university level don't know how to tolerate others.

Gunner Apr 19, 2017 09:02am

That's where campus police is essential for large universities.

ss Apr 19, 2017 09:48am

@Asteroid Your comment shows ignorance, The police was there when Mashal was killed, they had already saved Abdullah. Please read carefully.

Concerned Pakistani Apr 19, 2017 11:08am

@Harmony-1© The matter was going on from 10:00 am and the murder happened at 2:00 pm. DSP was available in the University since 12:00 and police force could have been called as the University and police station share boundry wall. Actually university administration and police both failed to handle the situation.

optimistic pk Apr 19, 2017 12:59pm

A very brave description of the event.