PESHAWAR/MARDAN: The father of Mashal Khan has appealed to the Supreme Court’s chief justice to order the suspension of the Peshawar High Court’s decision to grant bail to the 25 people convicted in his son’s lynching case.
By ordering the release of those convicts on bail, the high court’s Abbottabad Circuit Bench had suspended their sentences on Feb 27.
Mashal, a 23-year-old student of the Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, was lynched by a mob on campus in April 2017 on the charge of blasphemy.
Prime suspect remanded in three-day police custody
During a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club on Friday, Mashal’s father, Iqbal Khan, expressed dismay at the high court’s decision to suspend convictions in the lynching case and said it was regrettable that the court didn’t issue notices to him and his lawyers about the hearing and granted bails to convicts in their absence.
Accompanied by lawyers Fazal Khan and Ayaz Khan, Mashal’s father said the court’s decision was unilateral and didn’t meet the legal requirements.
He also resented the additional advocate general’s statement that the government won’t object if the court suspended the sentences of 25 convicts.
Mr Iqbal appealed to the Supreme Court’s chief justice to take a suo motu notice of the suspension of convictions in the lynching case and ensure the dispensation of justice to him and family.
He urged parents, moderate people, intellectuals, poets, writers, lawyers and journalists to extend support to him on the matter.
Mashal’s father complained that attempts were made to pressure him and family to withdraw the case.
He also said the government had yet to pay fee to the lawyer provided to him to pursue the case.
Mr Iqbal demanded further legal support and security for himself and family.
Lawyer Ayaz Khan insisted that the Peshawar High Court’s Abbottabad bench couldn’t suspend the sentences handed down by an anti-terrorism court and that the decision to grant bails to convicts wasn’t based on merit.
He alleged that the provincial government had tried to directly involve itself in the case.
Also in the day, a Mardan court granted the police a three-day physical remand of Arif Mardanvi, the main accused in the Mashal lynching case.
Arif Mardanvi, who was arrested on Thursday, was produced before the anti-terrorism court in Mardan amid tight security.
However, as the ATC judge was on leave, the police took him to the court of the district and sessions judge.
The police sought 10 days custody of the accused but judge Abdur Rauf Khan granted them his physical remand for three days.
The accused, a tehsil councillor of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in Chamtaar area, had fled to Turkey after the lynching incident.
However, he returned lately prompting DPO Mian Saeed Ahmad to form a special police team for his arrest.
He was held by the police on Thursday in the district.
In a video footage, which went viral on the social media, the accused was seen asking the mob not to name the actual killer of Mashal.
He had also declared that Mashal deserved to be killed for committing blasphemy.
Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2018