A First Information Report (FIR) was registered by police on Friday against members of a lynch mob that brutally assaulted two university students ─ killing one and injuring another ─ over alleged blasphemy in Mardan a day earlier.
The FIR has been lodged in Sheikh Maltoon police station against 20 suspects, of whom eight have been arrested, Mardan District Police Officer Dr Mian Saeed said.
The suspects were identified through video footage of the incident, while the police have formed three teams to arrest the remaining suspects, Dr Ahmed stated.
On April 13, Abdul Wali Khan University students Mashal and Abdullah were targeted by a violent mob on campus premises, that killed Mashal and injured Abdullah for allegedly “publishing blasphemous content online”, according to police.
The campus was shut down following the incident until further notice and its hostels vacated to avoid a further escalation of violence.
Iqbal, Mashal’s father and a local poet, said that the police asked if he suspected any one person, to which he had responded that he wasn’t present at the university himself, but there were cameras and the incident has been recorded.
He was speaking to Mashaal Radio ─ a Pashto news service serving the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
“It wasn’t just my son, other people were also injured. The government’s writ has been challenged,” he maintained, adding that if the government can safeguard its writ, it should also ask after his son.
No one in my neighborhood has ever had a problem with any of my sons, Iqbal said, adding that Mashal, when discussing various issues, would often make references to the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) in his arguments.
His mother asked him when he would be coming home from university, to which Mashal replied that he had holidays on Saturday and Sunday, and would therefore be leaving for home Friday.
“He has come home now,” he said.
Funeral prayers for Mashal were offered early Friday in Kalu Khan, Swabi District, where he was laid to rest.