Mashal Khan murder case: ATC to announce verdict on Mar 16
PESHAWAR (92 News) – An Anti-terrorism court on Tuesday reserved the verdict of the Mashal Khan murder case, which will be announced on March 16.
The court after hearing arguments from both the sides and reserved its verdict. As many as 46 witnesses and father of Mashal have already recorded their statements in the case.
The current case pertains to the four suspects that were absconding from court during the first trial.
Nearly 50 prosecution witnesses testified against the suspects during the course of the hearing conducted inside Haripur Central Jail. The prosecution charged 61 people in the case, while 57 of them were arrested and produced before the court for trial.
Case proceedings started on June 21, 2018 once the absconding suspects surrendered themselves to the court of law. On Tuesday, both sides finished their arguments, after which the verdict was reserved by ATC-3 Judge Mahmoodul Hassan Khattak.
The government’s lawyer in the case, Barrister Amirullah Chamkani, expressed hope that the court would award the maximum amount of punishment to the accused men.
It is pertinent to mention here that Mashal Khan, 23, a student of Mass Communications at Mardan’s Abdul Wali Khan University, was beaten and shot to death by an angry mob on April 13, 2017, after he was accused of blasphemy.
The lynching took place within the premises of the university and was caught on video which later circulated on social media. The horrific incident shocked the nation and sparked a debate over the misuse of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan.
Prime accused Imran Ali, who had confessed to shooting Mashal before a judicial magistrate, was sentenced last year on two counts to death by hanging.
He was handed a death sentence under Section 302(b) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), and another death sentence along with a Rs100,000 fine under Section 7(1)(a) of the Anti Terrorism Act.
Separately, he was awarded five years of rigorous imprisonment under Section 15 AA-KPK, along with a fine of Rs50,000.
Lynching of Mashal Khan was pre-planned: JIT report
Earlier June 4,2017, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed to probe the lynching of Mashal Khan, a journalism student at Abdul Wali Khan University (AWKU), revealed that his murder was pre-planned and didn’t find any evidence of blasphemy against Mashal and his friends.
The 13-member JIT team, in its report, has made startling revelations regarding the lynching of Mashal Khan.
According to the report, the JIT could not find any evidence of blasphemy against Mashal Khan and his friends Abdullah and Zubair.
The report further stated that university’s journalism department student Imran fired shots at Mashal Khan.
As many as 57 persons out of 60 indicated in the case have been arrested, while prime accused Counselor Arif and his accomplices are still at large.
“The varsity employees hired on political basis have criminal records,” the report added.