Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan lecturer and Mashal Khan’s teacher Ziaullah Hamdard apologised to the nation and the deceased’s parents for failing to save the student from the violent mob and said that Mashal was not even given the chance to clear his name.
“He [Mashal] was not even given the chance to prove his innocence,” he lamented. “They [mob] were in front of me yet I was not able to do anything. I haven’t been able to sleep since the past four days,” Ziaullah said during Geo News’ show Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath on Monday.
“Mashal was a humanist, he was into socialism and Sufism. He would often discuss Sufism with me,” remarked the teacher. “I never saw Mashal without a book in his hand.” He was well-versed in different languages and striking a conversation with him always proved to be fruitful. Ziaullah also said Mashal was his student, friend and son.
“Mashal was a ‘diya’ [lamp]. If all the lamps are put out then the nation will continue to live in darkness,” he said. “Mashal’s killing was politically motivated.”
Ziaullah appealed to the religious scholars to speak against people taking law in their own hands in response to blasphemy allegations.
The teacher also announced his resignation from the university after alleging that university administration played an integral role in the escalation of the situation. He said that he has been teaching at the Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan for the last four years, of which he spent three years fighting the university politics.
Ziaullah also shared his version of the lynching of Mashal Khan. He said that on the day he got a call from a teaching assistant Anees at 11am. He was asked to immediately reach the department as a mob had gathered claiming that some students have committed blasphemy.
He asked the mob of students, which also comprised his students, what was the matter. They told him that Mashal Khan and other students have made statements against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and alleged that Mashal was a Russian spy.
However, the lecturer asked them for proof but the mob failed to produce anything.
On the other hand, university’s education and sports teachers were also present at the scene. One of the teachers told the enraged mob that the accusations will be investigated and accused students be rusticated.
But, Ziaullah tried to stop the teachers and told them to not to encourage the people. With the mob out and about, Ziaullah messaged Mashal to leave the university’s premises, to which he replied that he has already left.
Ziaullah then reached faculty hostel and there another mob comprising students of other department was gathered. The mob called him a ‘hypocrite’ and questioned him about the whereabouts of Mashal. Ziaullah said he does not know where he was. Then, the mob went inside his room and searched for Mashal. They confiscated his cell phone and locked him inside the room, later the room was opened by another university teacher.
“I was just scared that the mob does not trace Mashal through my cell phone.”
However, when he reached the department it was already too late. He was informed that Mashal has been killed by the mob. The teacher was then taken by the police as he feared for his life.
Ziaullah also spoke about the controversial notification which was issued by the university’s administration to investigate blasphemy accusations against Mashal and two other students.
The teacher expressed his disgust at educated university officials for making such a decision and not even allowing the student the chance to prove his innocence. He, however, claimed that he was not a part of the notification which was issued.
Earlier, university’ provost Fayyaz Ali Shah had also claimed that he was unaware that such a notification had been issued.