The family of Mardan university student Mashal Khan ─ who was lynched over false accusations of blasphemy last year ─ is set to challenge the court's verdict in the case on Wednesday.

Mashal's brother, Aimal Khan, with his team of lawyers at the Peshawar High Court, on Tuesday. ─ Photo by author
Mashal's brother, Aimal Khan, with his team of lawyers at the Peshawar High Court, on Tuesday. ─ Photo by author

Mashal, a 23-year-old Mass Communications student at Mardan's Abdul Wali Khan University, was beaten and shot to death by an angry mob on April 13, 2017, after being accused of blasphemy.

Also read: Why they lynched Mashal Khan

A Haripur Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Feb 7 sentenced the prime accused, shooter Imran Ali, to death, handed jail sentences to 30 people, and acquitted 26 others.

Mashal's family was not satisfied with the verdict.

Speaking to the media today after a meeting with the family's lawyers at the Peshawar High Court (PHC), Aimal Khan, the victim's brother, said the family had "decided to challenge the verdict minutes after it was announced".

He added that the lawyers had completed drafting the case and would file an appeal in the PHC on Wednesday.

A member of the family's legal team, Fazl Khan, said that the 26 who were acquitted had, after their release from jail, openly announced that they had confessed to the brutal killing of Mashal while addressing workers of religious parties in Mardan.

"We have included video clips of their speeches in our appeal as proof," he said, adding that these individuals had played a major role in the killing of Mashal Khan.

Ayaz Khan, senior lawyer and another member of the legal team, said: "We are going to challenge the whole verdict, including the acquittal of 26 accused, the lesser sentences of 30 others", and the acquittal of the main accused, Imran Ali under sections 120-B, 148, 149, 324, 427, and 297 of the Pakistan Penal Code, and 11-WW and 21-I of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Ayaz Khan also pointed out contradiction in the verdict, saying that at the beginning of the detailed judgement it is stated that the lynching was planned and all the men arrested had played a role in the killing. However, at the end of the verdict, 26 men were acquitted citing insufficient evidence.

"We are hopeful that with this appeal, Mashal will finally get justice from the high court," he said.