Pakistan court convicts mob that lynched 'blasphemy' student

Pakistan court convicts mob that lynched 'blasphemy' student
A Pakistani court sentenced has convicted 31 people of murdering a fellow student who was accused of blasphemy, including one person to death.
2 min read
07 February, 2018
Supporters of Mashal Khan have campaigned for justice [AFP]

Pakistani students, teachers and officials have been convicted of murdering a scholar accused of blasphemy last year at a north-west Pakistan university, with strict punishments handed down to some of the perpetrators.

The judge condemned one person to death and handed out five multiple life sentences for for those convinced of killing communications student Mashal Khan in April.

He sentenced 25 more students and employees of Abdul Wali Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where the killing took place, to four years in jail.

Another 26 students brought in the Mashal Khan case were acquitted with those accused of his murder including students, university staff and officials.

Prime suspect Imran Ali who admitted to murdering the student was sentenced to death.

The lynch mob was caught on film beating and shooting dead Khan at his university campus.

He was attacked after a debate on religion at his dormitary, with an investigation ruling that Khan did not engage in blasphemy.

Mashal's brother Aimal said the court ruling did not go far enough.

"We will consult our lawyers and see if we are satisfied with the verdict," Aimal said, according to Dawn newspaper. 

"My only appeal to the [...] police is to arrest the rest of the suspects and bring them to justice as well."

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan apparently pledged to campaign for Swabi university - also in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa - to be named after Mashal Khan.

"Imran Khan had promised he would rename Swabi University after Mashal Khan, but that has yet to happen. We appeal to him to fulfil his promise," Aimal said.

"Mashal was not an ordinary person, he was a visionary. This is the least they [the government] can do to honour him."

Blasphemy killings are common in Pakistan.