A 23-year-old student of Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan was killed and another seriously injured by a vigilante mob for allegedly “publishing blasphemous content online”, local police said Thursday.
The incident occurred within the university premises. The campus was shut down following the incident until further notice and its hostels vacated to avoid a further escalation of violence.
At least 45 people had been arrested in connection with the incident by Thursday evening, according to Mardan District Police Officer Dr Mian Saeed.
No case had been filed against the two students prior to the incident and police had not been investigating the two on blasphemy charges.
The mob instead seems to have been incited by rumours circulating among the university’s student body.
An eyewitness at the scene of the incident said Mashal and Abdullah, two Mass Communication students, were attacked because they were believed to be “promoting the Ahmadi faith on Facebook”.
A student requesting anonymity said several leaders of the university’s student bodies were part of the attacking mob.
One of Mashal’s teachers later told Reuters that he was a passionate and critical student.
“He was brilliant and inquisitive, always complaining about the political system of the country, but I never heard him saying anything controversial against the religion,” the teacher said.