SWABI: The residents of Mashal Khan’s native town, Zaida, on Thursday gathered at the grave of the Abdul Wali Khan University student lynched by a mob over the alleged blasphemy lately and apologised to the deceased and his family for failing to ‘stand with them in crisis.’
“Please forgive us (Mashal’s father) Iqbal Lala for giving you severe pain by showing indifference when you faced such a grave crisis. We also seek forgiveness from the departed soul,” a local resident said at the student’s grave.
He said the villagers acknowledged that they made a mistake by initially not standing with the family.
The people later laid a wreath at the student’s grave and offered fateha for him.
They also staged a demonstration to demand justice for the student’s family through punishment of killers and accomplices.
The 23-year-old student was killed and another seriously injured by a vigilante mob for allegedly ‘publishing blasphemous content online.’
The incident occurred on the university premises. The campus was shut down following the incident until further notice and its hostels vacated to avoid a further escalation of violence.
Dozens of people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Earlier, the Pakhtunkhwa Ulasi Tehreek held a rally in Zaida against the lynching incident.
The protesters gathered in the town’s main market and marched through it before going to Mashal’s grave to offer fateha.
Members of the local government, political workers, civil society activists, traders and people from other walks of life participated in the rally.
The protesters complained that despite claims of the provincial police chief for speedy action against Mashal’s killers and accomplices, some of the lynching incident suspects were still at large.
Holding placards against the incident, they shouted slogans against the culpable people.
The speakers, including political leaders and traders, demanded that the killers and accomplices be given exemplary punishment for the early dispensation of justice to Mashal’s family. They also called for the early arrest of the culprits. The protesters later dispersed peacefully.
Meanwhile, Sherin Yar, a resident of Zarobai village and a close friend of Mashal’s father, is reported to have arranged the student’s funeral before ensuring its trouble-free holding.
Liaquat Yousafzai, a friend of Sherin, told Dawn that when he and his friend reached Zaida city’s main eidgah to arrange the funeral, a hostile environment confronted them.
“Mr Sherin called his friends from Zaida city for help, who showed up in no time. Their arrival was a great encouragement for us and others. Thereafter, the people began pouring in,” he said.
A member of Mashal’s family said Mr Sherin was one of best friends of Mohammad Iqbal.
He said Nisar Khan, a resident of Zaida city, also played a major role in the holding of the funeral.
Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2017