Peshawar (Staff Report/Agencies): An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Thursday awarded life imprisonment to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) former councillor Arif Khan and Asad for their involvement in the 2017 lynching of Mashal Khan.
Judge Mehmoodul Hassan Khattak also acquitted the two other suspects identified as Sabir Mayar and Izhar.
Today's decision was regarding four people who had absconded from court during the first trial.
On Feb 18, Peshawar High Court (PHC) suspended conviction of 25 suspects in Mashal Khan murder.
A two-member bench of the PHC heard a petition filed by the suspects who had been sentenced to jail by an anti-terrorism in Haripur earlier this month, challenging trial court’s verdict.
An anti-terrorism court (ATC) had awarded death sentence to one accused in Mashal Khan murder case, while five accused has been sent jail for life. The court also awarded four years in jail to 25 suspects.
The court has acquitted 26 accused in the case, while The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has announced to file a review petition against the release of 26 accused.
ATC Judge Fazal Khan Subhan announced the verdict in the heavily guarded Haripur jail.
On April 13, 2017, Mashal Khan, 23, a student at the Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan was lynched by a mob, allegedly comprising of his fellow students riled up by allegations of blasphemy against the young man. As details of this bone-chilling event, including a video recording of the event, were reported, a different picture started to emerge— one that had nothing to do with blasphemy.
The brutal, videotaped murder had shocked the nation, sparking a debate over the misuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan.
The police had arrested 58 suspects out of total 61 nominated in the FIR, while three suspects, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf councilor Arif, head of a student group Sabir and a varsity employee Asad Zia are still at large.