As many as eight people were charged with murder and terrorism on Saturday in the mob lynching of a Abdul Wali Khan university student Mashal Khan over allegations of blasphemy, reported GeoNews TV. The accused, all students belonging to the same university, were remanded in police custody for four days by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan’s Mardan district.
The students were identified from a video footage of the incident, in which Khan is seen being dragged in a hallway and then on the road of the campus, covered in blood, PTI reported. Khan, a mass communication student at the university, was stripped, beaten, shot and then thrown off the second floor of his hostel at the university. Four others were arrested in connection with the case on Saturday, GeoNews TV added.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday strongly condemned the lynching incident and said the entire nation should try to promote tolerance in society, reported Dawn. “The state will never tolerate those who take the law in their own hands,” Sharif said, adding that he was “shocked and saddened” by the “senseless” display of mob justice.
“No father should have to send his child off to be educated, with the fear of having him return in a coffin,” he said.
Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Saturday said there was no evidence found to suggest that Khan had committed blasphemy. “The mobile phone record of the victim has been checked by the police, but there was nothing against Islam,” he said while speaking in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Saturday demanded that all those involved in the lynching of Khan be brought to justice, reported Al Jazeera. “The state’s abject failure to protect Mashal Khan’s right to life has created great panic and horror among students and academia,” it said in a statement.