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PESHAWAR: Awami National Party leader Bushra Gohar has demanded of its party to form a committee for self-accountability and to review the role of its district government and its students wing, Pakhtun Students Federation (PkSF), concerning lynching of a student in Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, on April 13.

“If people are pointing fingers at PkSF in Mashal’s murder, we must find out how these progressive youth turned into cannibals,” said Bushra Gohar while speaking at a reference held at Bacha Khan Markaz here on Thursday to condole the killing of Mashal Khan in Abdul Wali Khan University by a mob, mostly students.

“The first voice should have been raised by the ANP district government in Mardan at this gruesome act,” she said and asked for accountability within the party, which was a follower of Bacha Khan’s philosophy of non-violence.

Iftikhar Hussain says those not following philosophy of Bacha Khan not with us

PkSF leader Tauheed Khan, speaking at the reference, said that they condemned the killing of Mashal and that PkSF was against the mindset which killed him. The PkSF draws ideological inspiration from Bacha Khan and his philosophy of non-violence, he stressed.

Party’s general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain called for strength to fight such mindset that had been targeting ANP and its workers in its opposition to terrorism.

“If killing of 850 workers of ANP could not wake us up, we are united here today at the reference of Mashal Khan who was also killed by the same mindset,” said Mr Hussain who lost his own son to terrorism. He identified his grief with that of Mashal’s father.

He said that those PkSF youth who were sharing data on social media should first increase their knowledge and come up with a counter-narrative of the extremist mindset and then use it.

“Those who are confused and not following the philosophy of Bacha Khan are not with us or from among us anymore. They should separate their ways with us,” said Mr Hussain who affirmed that his party was not confused on the issue and was the first to issue statement against the gruesome act.

Sardar Hussain Babak, party’s provincial general secretary, said that he had raised the issue on the floor of the house the very next day of the incident since it was an unusual and gruesome incident. “We need to find out what is wrong with us. How could students be so cruel,” said Mr Babak.

He compared the brutality of killing of Mashal to that of Dr Najeebullah in Afghanistan. “That was done by extremists and he was not killed in the open. Mashal was killed in the open and his body was desecrated. It was done by students of the university, which is shocking,” he said.

The gathering expressed its protest by tying black armbands to condemn the gruesome act and also offered fateha for Mashal Khan.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2017