Mardan, April 14 (Express Tribune): A journalism student in the Khyber Pakhtunwala Province of Pakistan was lynched on Tursday after being accused of blasphemy.
The gory incident took place at Abdul Wali Khan University (AWKU), at Mardan in broad daylight. The deceased was identified as Mashal Khan, a resident of Swabi and a student at AWKU’s Journalism and Mass Communication department.
A friend of the deceased student told The Express Tribune that a mob attacked Mashal before shooting him in the head and chest. He added that the mob then continued to beat his body with sticks.
The students then began protesting at the campus and shut it down.
A police contingent that arrived at the scene immediately took custody of the body, but students kept demanding it back.
Mardan Dy Superintendent of Police Sheikh Maltun Mardan Haider Khan confirmed to The Express Tribune that the victim had been murdered by his fellow students.
He added that five students were injured in clashes but police managed to bring the situation under control.
Later, K-P Inspector General Salahuddin Mehsud told The Express Tribune that arrests have been made and an investigation is already under way. He added that further arrests will be made after the police identify other members of the mob.
“Blasphemy is yet to be confirmed,” IG Mehsud added.
A notification issued by the police stated that 59 people were arrested from the university for their suspected involvement in the lynching.
The body has been shifted to District Headquarters Hospital for an autopsy.
Following the incident, AWKU Assistant Registrar Ashoor Khan issued a notification stating the university will be closed until further notice.
Blasphemy carries the death penalty in Pakistan. In many cases, an accusation alone is enough to inspire vigilante action against suspects.
(The featured picture at the top shows the main building of the Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan ,Khyber Pakhtunwala province of Pakistan)