A slow breakdown is being seen in the countrywide consensus that first existed over the iniquity of the death of Mashal Khan, who was wantonly killed by a mob after being accused of blasphemy. The KP police have actively pursued the case and made multiple arrests of perpetrators, many identified through CCTV footage, involved in the lynching of Mashal.
He went on to say that under civilian courts these men may be freed not only because they are afforded the benefit of doubt but also as judges often feared for their lives in such decisions.
On Tuesday, however a meeting held by Pakhtunkhwa Olasi Tehreek at Peshawar Press Club, Advocate Amir Sultan from Mardan cited fears that the perpetrators would escape capital punishment in the judicial courts and should be tried under military courts to ensure that the culprits receive their just punishment. He went on to say that under civilian courts these men may be freed not only because they are afforded the benefit of doubt but also as judges often feared for their lives in such decisions.
Many religious scholars from different sects came out after the killing to condemn it, including Mufti Taqi Usmani, Mufti Naeem, Maulana Samiul Haq, and even the Imam-i-Ka’aba. Pakistan Tehreeq-e-Insaaf (PTI) condemned the event on the first day with Imran Khan saying ‘law of the jungle’ cannot prevail and directed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police to take swift action against the culprits.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 14, 2017
Prime Minister Nawaz, Sharif condemned it the next day by rejecting “the idea of self-imposed vigilantes” and directed action against those found involved in the incident, ordering the police to arrest all those who were responsible.
Leaders from all mainstream political parties have condemned the lynching and expressed their outrage on social media.
Several leading politicians have added their voices to condemn the murder of Mashal Khan
Shocked to see Mashal Khan killing video. Vigilantism &mob justice are indicative of regressive & putrid mindset. Is that what we stand for?
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) April 15, 2017
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) April 15, 2017
The culprits behind the brutal murder of Mashal Khan should be made an example of, so no one uses religion to justify murder.
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) April 15, 2017
Mardan lynching yet another example of how increasing intolerance is destroying the fabric of society
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) April 14, 2017
— Sharmila faruqi (@sharmilafaruqi) April 13, 2017
PTI, the governing party of KP, has admirably come out strong in support of apprehending and condemning Mashal Khan’s killers; unlike the PPP who cowered and refused to take a strong stand when Punjab Governor, Salman Taseer was killed on the accusation of blasphemy. Several people subsequently have been killed by mobs and individuals for allegedly committing blasphemy. The Supreme Court decision to award capital punishment to Mumtaz Qadri in itself was a message that the law cannot be taken by the individuals into their own hands.
“It all happened because of your [Nawaz’s] philosophy. That is why I hold you responsible for this incident,”
Asif Ali Zardari, addressing a crowd in Mardan during a rally, put the weight of the blame of Mashal Khan’s murder on the shoulders of the PML-N government saying “It all happened because of your [Nawaz’s] philosophy. That is why I hold you responsible for this incident,” adding “You are the offspring of Zia-ul-Haq.”
However, many religious parties who see this as a threat to their control are refusing to concede on this issue, since they see it as a slippery slope to losing power. On Tuesday, JUI-F and disappointingly members of ANP in Mardan district assembly blocked a resolution put forth by PTI representative Dr. Hafizur Wahab to offer Fateha for the departed soul of Mashal Khan. Dr. Wahab accused them of appointing their cronies to the Abdul Wali Khan University which, according to him, led to the murder of Mashal Khan.
In another related event, the Muttahida Deeni Mahaz rejected the idea proposed by Imran Khan to rename the university after Mashal Khan. They also demanded that the district police allow access for parents of the arrested perpetrators to their children.