Directs JIT to fulfill all legal requirements in probe
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday observed that in an Islamic society, there is no room for the incidents like the Mashal Khan’s murder.
The apex court also observed if criminal negligence had been shown by the police in the case, a thorough investigation would be ordered. The SC ordered the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to fulfill all the legal requirements in the investigation of the Mashal murder case.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice (CJ) Mian Saqib Nisar, resumed hearing in the suo moto case of the murder of Mashal Khan, a student of Department of Journalism, Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, who was lynched by an angry mob of students on April 13 on the campus over blasphemy allegations.
During the course of hearing, Iqbal Khan, the father of Mashal Khan, told the court that his son was killed at 10:00am and his body was desecrated until 3:00pm by the angry mob while the police present on the spot did not take action.
“My son was an asset of the country,” Iqbal Khan said adding that the police had so far arrested actors but not the directors who were behind the brutal killing of his son.
The CJ observed, “The point is in our mind as this was not an incident of a moment but there was a protest and campaign behind the murder of Mashal Khan,” adding that they knew what was done by the mob with the victim’s body.
The CJ asked whether video footage of the incident, which showed the mob of university students kicking the lifeless body of the victim and beating it with clubs, had been obtained via CCTV footage or social media.
Khwaja Azher, counsel for Mashal’s father, submitted that the video was enough for the case and it had already been verified. Additional Advocate General Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP) Waqar Ahmed told the court that the videos and audios of the incident had been sent to forensic laboratory, Lahore, and the result was awaited.
Khwaja Azher further informed the court that the police did not even cross-examine university lecturer Dr Ziaullah Hamdard, the main witness of the incident. The police, however, told the court that the lecturer had recorded his statement before the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).
The counsel for Mashal’s father requested the court to transfer the case to Islamabad for security reasons. The CJ said that it was the responsibility of the state to provide protection and security to the witnesses, adding that law is available for the transfer of case from one place to another for ensuring a fair trial.
The counsel further said that Mashal’s sisters had been unable to continue their education since the incident. “We have already suffered a severe loss,” Iqbal Khan, Mashal’s father, told the court. The chief justice replied that it was a loss of the whole nation. “Tell us what we can do for our children”.
The CJ observed that if the daughters were admitted to the school/college of Islamabad, it would be rather impossible for them to travel between Mardan and Islamabad daily. “If the whole family shifts to Islamabad, their father will also have to find a source of income here,” he said.
Meanwhile, the KP Police submitted a report before the court with the details stating that 53 suspects had been arrested so far and out of those, 49 were in jail and four were in police remand while two others had escaped.
The report further stated that the principal accused Imran had been arrested and he had also made a confessional statement, adding that other six accused in the case had also recorded their confessional statements before the magistrate under Section 164. The report further stated that an interim challan had been presented against the 49 accused persons.
The court was informed that investigation on the role of university administration was under process. Meanwhile, the court expressed satisfaction with the report and ruled that the JIT was going in the right direction. The court directed the police to submit the final challan on the next date of hearing and for non-filing of the challan, reason should be given.
The court exempted Iqbal Khan, father of Mashal, from appearing in the court and directed him to remain in contact with Director Human Rights Cell Khalid Tippu who will intimate the court. Later, the court adjourned the hearing for three weeks.