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Protests in Pakistan against lynching of student

IANS  |  Islamabad 

Protests led by civil society organisations were held in different parts of to condemn the killing of university student Mashal Khan for allegedly "publishing blasphemous content online".

Demonstrations took place in Zaida village of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Friday as Mashal Khan was laid to rest, The News International said.

The 23-year-old journalism student from Abdul Wali Khan University was stripped, shot, thrown from the second floor of the hostel and brutally beaten to death by a mob on Thursday.

At least 20 persons were arrested in connection with the incident.

In Peshawar, demonstrators chanted slogans against the university administration and police.

According to the protesters in Lahore, it was an unprecedented incident in the history of Pakhtuns.

They demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident that drew condemnation from across the country.

Mashal Khan's family insisted that he was innocent.

"I want justice as my son was innocent. I cannot even imagine that he will have committed blasphemy," said Muhammad Iqbal, his father.

About 1,000 people, mostly relatives, friends and co-villagers attended his funeral prayer at the main Eidgah in the village.

However, none of his fellow students or university officials attended the funeral.

His sister told the media that it was a "conspiracy against my brother and it must be unearthed".

Meanwhile, Awami National Party (ANP) Mardan President Himayatullah Mayar urged his party members not to comment on the killing until the issue was probed.

Mayar met the university students to learn more about the issue. The students said negligence on the part of the university administration led to the incident.

The mob stormed the university's Journalism and Mass Communication Department in search of Mashal Khan, Zubair Khan and Abdullah, became violent and shot him while critically injuring another.

The police have registered a FIR against 20 persons including students, employees and outsiders.

The university has also formed a six-member committee to probe the incident.

The university administration had earlier rusticated Mashal Khan, Abdullah Khan and Zubair Khan over the complaint of committing blasphemy.

Mashal Khan had earlier said that his Facebook account was hacked and was being misused.

A message on the wall of his room said: "Allah is the greatest and Prophet Muhammad is the messenger of God."

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Parvez Khattak said the reports had no evidence that he committed blasphemy. He said nobody should be allowed to take the law into their hands.

PTI chairman Imran Khan tweeted: "I am in touch with the inspector general since last night (Thursday) on condemnable lynching of a student in Mardan."

Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has demanded the immediate arrest of the culprits.

Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai lamented that some Pakistanis had forgotten the message of peace given by Islam.

"No one is maligning the name of your country or religion... we ourselves are bringing a bad name to our country and religion," she said.

Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sardar Mohammad Yousaf said blasphemy cannot be condoned but no one will be allowed to take the law into their hands.

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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