PESHAWAR: A single-member Peshawar High Court bench on Monday dismissed bail petitions of two accused persons in the Mashal Khan lynching case asking the prosecution to submit challan (charge sheet) against them to the trial court within 15 days.
Justice Nasir Mehfooz also directed the trial court to complete proceedings within two months after the submission of the challan.
The petitioners, including Izharullah alias Johny and Sabir Mayar had gone into hiding after the lynching incident occurred at Mardan’s Abdul Wali Khan University on April 13, 2017. They’re held by the police few months ago.
Their bail petitions were recently dismissed by an anti-terrorism court in Peshawar.
Gives prosecution fortnight to submit charge sheet
Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old student of the Mardan university’s Department of Mass Communication, was lynched by a mob over the allegation of blasphemy.
On Feb 7, an anti-terrorism court had convicted 31 of the 57 accused persons facing trial in the lynching case, awarding death sentence to the prime accused, Imran Khan, life imprisonment to five of them and three-year imprisonment to 25 others.
However, the anti-terrorism court, which had conducted trial inside Haripur central prison, had acquitted 26 of the accused persons, observing that the prosecution failed to prove the charges against them.
The trial court had issued perpetual arrest warrants of four of the then absconding accused, including the present two petitioners, who according to the prosecution had played key role in the offence and had declared them proclaimed offenders.
Petitioners Izharullah and Sabir Mayar and another accused Arif Khan were later arrested, whereas another prime accused Asad Katlang was held after his pre-arrest bail was dismissed by the ATC.
A panel of lawyers including Barrister Amirullah Khan Chamkani, Fazal Khan and Mohammad Ayaz appeared for Mashal’s father, Iqbal Khan, and opposed bail petitions.
They said the petitioners were prime suspects in the case and the evidence produced during the trial had proved their involvement in lynching.
Barrister Amirullah said the trial court, which had ruled that the charge of blasphemy against Mashal Khan were unfounded, had issued the perpetual warrants for the arrest of four absconding accused, including petitioners, and had declared them proclaimed offenders.
The petitioners’ counsel contended that their clients had been held without trial for many months and therefore, they should be freed on bail.
Few months ago, the high court had directed shifting of the trial of the absconding accused persons to the ATC Peshawar.
In April, the high court had ordered the clubbing of all appeals against the ATC judgment and holding of hearing into them at the principal seat of the court in Peshawar.
Currently, several appeals of the convicts and those of the provincial government and Iqbal Khan against the acquittal of the accused persons and awarding of nominal sentence to several of the accused have been pending with the high court.
Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2018