HARIPUR/SWABI: The anti-terrorism court (ATC) hearing the murder case of Mashal Khan has sentenced one accused to death, jail sources informed Geo News on Wednesday.
According to sources, ATC Judge Fazal-e-Subhan sentenced five accused to life imprisonment (25 years), while 26 others were released. Geo News has learnt that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will file appeals in the high courts against the release of the suspects.
Mashal, a journalism student at the Abdul Wali Khan University, was killed on April 13, 2017, by a violent mob on the pretext of committing blasphemy. However, investigators found no proof of blasphemy and ruled that the murder was politically motivated.
58 accused had been taken into custody for the murder of Mashal, while three are still absconding.
After the verdict, Aimal Khan, the brother of late Mashal Khan demanded Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police arrest the absconded suspects on urgent basis.
Speaking to the press, Aimal said that the family will decide about the future course of action on the case after consulting with the legal counsels. "I am sad to lose my brother. The void can never be filled," Aimal said, adding that, "Imran Khan promised to name Swabi University after Mashal Khan, he is yet to complete his promise."
Why was he killed?Â
The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed over the lynching case revealed in its report in June 2017 that members of the Pakhtoon Students Federation, the student wing of the Awami National Party, incited the mob to kill Mashal on the pretext of blasphemy. The report stated the murder was premeditated as the group was threatened by Mashal's activities because he would raise his voice against irregularities at his university.
According to the JIT report, the president of university employees, Ajmal Mayar, revealed during investigation that around a month before the incident, PSF President Sabir Mayar and an employee of the varsity, Asad Katlang, went to him and said they wanted to remove Mashal from their way as he was a threat to their group. The report added that Sabir and Asad did not mention how they wanted to get rid of Mashal, but they are on the run since the day of the killing.
Mashal, who was also part of PSF, would openly speak against irregularities in his varsity, the report added.Â
He had protested over the issue of theÂ university not having a vice chancellor after the previous one retired, as the absence of one would hinder the students from getting their degrees, read the report.Â
"No one from the AWKUM management visited the camp, due to which Mashal called them thieves."
PTI govt didn't fulfil promises: Mashal's fatherÂ
On January 22 this year, Mashalâs father said that he himself was bearing the expenses of the police security for his family and that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insafâs government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has not fulfilled a single promise made to him after the lynching of his son.
This is a developing story and will be updated as further details are made available. With breaking news, some reports in the media can be inaccurate.Â