Today marks the fifth death anniversary of Mashal Khan, a university student from Mardan who was lynched by a mob in Abdul Wali Khan University over alleged blasphemy.
Mashal's brutal lynching by an extremist mob on April 13, 2017, was instigated by rumours that he had committed blasphemy by posting sacrilegious content online.
The 23-year-old was beaten to death on the premises of his university, with the barbaric incident caught on video and later circulated on social media. The cruely on display shocked not just Pakistan but the entire world and sparked a debate on the misuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan.
In June 2017, a 13-member joint investigation team concluded that the allegations of blasphemy against Mashal Khan were unfounded and were used as a pretext to incite a mob against him.
57 people were apprehended and on February 07, 2018, the ATC sentenced the prime suspect to death while five others to 25 years imprisonment in the case.
ATC had acquitted 26 suspects and awarded three years of jail term to 25 other accused in the case.
Multiple appeals were filed by the KP government and Mashal Khan’s father seeking reversal of the acquittal of 28 of the accused and an increase in the sentences of 25 of the convicts who were awarded three years’ imprisonment, and those of seven others who were handed down life imprisonment.
In January 2022, the Supreme Court of Pakistan accepted for hearing a set of appeals by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government seeking to enhance the sentences of the convicts involved in Mashal's lynching.
Paying tribute to Mashal Khan and remembering him, former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s granddaughter Fatima Bhutto said, “Five years ago shaheed Mashal Khan was lynched.”
Other social media users also paid tribute to the courageous youth.