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MARDAN: The police here on Thursday arrested one of the main suspects identified as Arif Mardanvi who was nominated in Mashal Khan lynching case.

Mashal Khan, a student of Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, was lynched on April 13, 2017 by an enraged mob for allegedly circulating blasphemous content on social media.

Talking to this correspondent, DSP Ikhtiraz Khan said that Arif Mardanvi had been absconding for over 10 months after occurrence of the lynching case and later went to Turkey.

He said that district police officer Mian Saeed Ahmad constituted a special police team for arrest of the suspect when he was informed about his return from abroad and presence in Mardan district.

He, however, claimed that officials of the special police team arrested the suspect Arid Mardanvi, a tehsil councillor of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, in Chamtaar area while he was waiting for somebody to go with him and hide from police.

Sources said that the arrested suspect, Arif Mardanvi, was the person who in a video that surfaced on social media after the lynching case was seen warning a crowd to keep the name of real killer of Mashal secret. He had also declared in his video that Mashal deserved to be killed over allegations of blasphemy, which a joint investigation team later found to be false.

The police official said that the number of arrested accused in the lynching case had now reached 59. He said that Arif Mardanvi was among the three absconders who were wanted to police in the lynching case. He said that other two suspects, including Asad of Katlang and Sabri of Mayar area, were still at large.

Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2018