Plot to ‘get rid of’ Mashal Khan was hatched a month before murder, concludes JIT

PESHAWAR: Mashal Khan’s murder was premeditated, the joint investigation team (JIT) – formed to investigate the murder of the 23-year-old university student over blasphemy accusations – has concluded in its findings.

The JIT, while raising questions about the role of the Abdul Wali Khan University (AWKU) administration and the Mardan police, cleared the charges of blasphemy against Mashal, a student of journalism who was beaten up and then shot dead on the university’s campus by a mob of students on April 13.

“From the investigations carried out as of yet, none of the charges of blasphemy levelled against Mashal, Abdullah and Zubair [Mashal’s friends] have been proven to be true,” the report read.

Related: Mashal Khan Lynching – Never Justifiable

The 308-page report, which comprises eight pages of the 13-member JIT and 300 pages of the police record is loaded with confessions, stories of corruption and happenings that led to Mashal’s murder.

In its conclusion, the investigation body said Ajmal Mayar, the president of the university employees’ union, during interrogation had confessed that a month before the murder, Sabir Mayar, the head of Pakhtun Students Federation (PSF) and Asad Katlang, an employee of the university, came to his office and told him that they had to “get rid of Mashal” as he was a “threat to the party”.

The JIT observed that both Sabir and Asad were at large since the incident took place and it was unclear as to tactics had been deployed to “get rid of Mashal”.

Mashal’s interview to the Khyber TV, a local Pashto channel, in which he had criticised the AWKU administration and the government for not appointing a vice chancellor has also been mentioned in the report.

Of the 60 people identified with the help of video clips and other information verified by the Federal Investigation Agency and the Pakistan Forensic Science Agency, 57 have been arrested while three are still at large.

The report, which will be submitted to the Supreme Court and the anti-terrorism court, has suggested severe punishments for the university employees and students involved in the crime.

It has also suggested that strict departmental action should be taken against registrar Sher Alam, director administration Peer Asfandyar, chief security officer Inayatullah Afridi, provost Fayaz Ali Shah, chief proctor Professor Idrees, director sports professor Farooq and assistant registrar Humayun for their incompetence.

The JIT noted that people with criminal records had been employed by the university because of their political affiliations. It has been suggested that the records of all employees should be scrutinised.

The role of the police is also questionable, the investigation team noted, particularly because the riot police were not used in time to stop the murder and junior officer were not helping their seniors during the situation. It has been requested that a separate, high-level inquiry be initiated by the police department itself against the officers involved.

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