PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday directed the federal government to respond to the petition of a student lynching convict against the presence of his name on the Exit Control List despite the completion of his jail term.

A bench consisting of Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim and Justice Syed M Attique Shah sought the interior ministry’s response to the plea of Ali Khan for removal of his name from the ECL.

Advocate Malik Shahbaz appeared before the court for the petitioner, a resident of Mardan, and said his client was named in the case of the 2017 lynching of Abdul Wali Khan University student Mashal Khan.

He said an anti-terrorism court absolved the petitioner of the murder charge in 2019 but sentenced him to three years imprisonment for being part of the mob involved in the offence.

PHC asks govt to respond to petition

The lawyer argued that the petitioner had completed his prison term of three years on Feb 3, 2023, leading to his release.

He said his client intended to go abroad but was informed that his name had been placed in the ECL, so he couldn’t travel outside the country.

The counsel said when the petitioner had approached the government, he was told that as appeals of the provincial government in the case had been pending with the Supreme Court, he couldn’t be permitted to leave the country.

He added that restrictions couldn’t be placed on freedom of movement of the petitioner as it was a fundamental human right guaranteed under the Constitution.

A total of 61 accused were tried in the Mashal Khan lynching case but the trial court handed down death sentence only to the prime accused, Imran Ali, who was charged with firing at the student.

Seven of the accused got life imprisonment, while 25, including the petitioner, were sentenced to three year prison term on account of lynching. The rest were acquitted.

The Peshawar High Court upheld the conviction by the trial courts in Nov 2020 but converted the death penalty awarded to the prime accused into life imprisonment.

It rejected the appeals of the convicts as well as that of the provincial government.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2024

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