An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Saturday delayed announcement of the verdict of Mashal Khan's lynching case till March 21. The ruling, which was reserved on March 12, was to be announced today.
Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old Mass Communication student at Mardan's Abdul Wali Khan University, was lynched in 2017 by a mob that accused him of blasphemy.
A total of 61 people suspected of involvement in the lynching ─ the majority of them students and university employees and a tehsil councillor belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) ─ were charged in the first information report. Out of these, 57 were sentenced by a court on February 7, 2018.
The current case pertains to four suspects that were absconding from court during the first trial. All four of them were produced before court today.
Case proceedings started on June 21, 2018 once the absconding suspects surrendered themselves to the court of law. Both sides finished their arguments on Tuesday, after which the verdict was reserved by ATC-3 Judge Mahmoodul Hassan Khattak.
The government's lawyer in the case, Barrister Amirullah Chamkani, had expressed hope that the court would award the maximum amount of punishment to the accused men.
"We have provided maximum evidences to the court against the accused, including the PTI tehsil counsellor Arif Khan," Chamkani had said while speaking to DawnNewsTV.