A vigilante mob in Mardan, Pakistan, on Thursday thrashed and then killed a student of Abdul Wali Khan University and seriously injured another for alleged blasphemy. Deputy Inspector General of Police Mohammad Alam Shinwari told Dawn that Mashal Khan and Abdullah were accused of posting blasphemous content on Facebook.
DIG Shinwari said that Khan succumbed to gunshot injuries. “The charged students then wanted to burn his body,” he told the Pakistani daily. Mardan District Police Officer Mian Saeed said they had arrested at least 45 people till Thursday evening in the case.
A group of students attacked Khan and Abdullah on the university campus in the afternoon, accusing the two mass communication students of promoting the Ahmadi faith on social media. An eyewitness told Dawn that Abdullah was first asked to recite verses from the Quran before they started beating him. When the police intervened and rescued him, the mob went after Khan who was his hostel roommate. Khan’s friend told The Express Tribune that the students attacked him before shooting him in the head and chest. He added that the mob continued to beat his body.
Hostel Warden Muhammad Ali claimed there were 3,000 to 4,000 students in the mob. “I was alerted that they were approaching, so I closed the gates. But they broke through, found Mashal [Khan] and fired at him and started beating him,” he said.
University officials said the incident took place in the presence of policemen on campus. The officers said they could not stop the lynching because the mob outnumbered them by a large margin.
Following the incident, university authorities have shut down the campus indefinitely and vacated the hostels. Five students were injured in the clashes that ensued between the police and students after the incident, reported Geo News.