SC stops formation of ‘judicial commission’ in Mashal murder case, 7 suspects confess to murder

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ISLAMABAD, Apr 19: Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday has stopped Peshawar High Court (PHC) from establishing judicial commission over Abdul Wali Khan University student Mashal Khan’s murder in Mardan.

Meanwhile, seven suspects in the lynching of Mashal Khan confessed before the police on Wednesday, sources privy to the developments said.

According to the sources, all of these seven suspects were presented before an anti-terrorism court today.

The court gave a go-ahead for their confessional statements to be recorded. The suspects would now appear before a civil court to record their statements before the judges, the sources added.

Earlier today, two more students of Abdul Wali Khan University were arrested from Sardheri, Charsadda after a video emerged on Tuesday showing the mob vowing not to reveal the name of Mashal’s shooter following the horrific lynching on April 13.

The newly arrested students have been identified as Ishaq and Tariq.

According to details, SC conducted the hearing of suo moto case in open court during which Justice Umar Ata Bandial directed the investigation officers to not restrict the probe on statements only. He also sought clarification from Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Pervaiz Khattak and ordered fair inquiry into the matter.

On April 12, a large mob attacked journalism student Mashal Khan stripping, beating and shooting him before throwing from the second floor of his hostel over his liberal views.The administration had claimed that a probe was called on against Khan and two friends who had a debate with other students about religious views which became so heated that teachers had to lock him in a room for his safety.

“But the enraged students grew to a mob and they attacked the room,” the source said.

The brutality of the attack, recorded on a mobile phone camera, shocked the public and led to widespread condemnation, including Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif who vowed to prosecute the perpetrators.

Soon after the incident, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Saqib Nisar took suo moto notice and issued notifications to Advocate General, KP Inspector General (IG) Salahuddin Khan Mehsud and the university registrar to appear in the court.

KP IG had also submitted report in SC, stating that no evidence of blasphemy against Mashal Khan was found whereas 26 suspects including six university workers have been arrested so far. He said that assistance from Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was requested for the verification of deceased’s social media accounts.

Meanwhile, prime suspect Wajahat Khan recorded his statement, saying that he had conflicts with ideologies of Mashal Khan and they often indulged in arguments with each other. He told that Abdullah and Zubair also shared the ideas of Mashal Khan. He further said that security in charge Bilal Bakhsh provoked all the people present in the office after which they rushed to Mashal’s room and killed him.

He added that the management should have informed police instead of taking action itself.

National Assembly had also unanimously approved resolution moved by Federal Minister Rana Tanvir Hussain that criticized murder of Mashal Khan as the members resolved that nobody should be allowed to take law into his hands and resort to condemnable act of killing someone.

Vigilantes have murdered 65 people over blasphemy allegations since 1990, according to research compiled by the Center for Research and Security Studies think-tank.

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