Eight charged with murder in Pakistan university student's lynching case

University student murdered on accusation of blasphemy on his Facebook postings

On April 13, Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan student Mashal Khan, 23, was shot and beaten to death by a violent mob on university premises.

Mardan: 45 people had been arrested in connection with the incident by Thursday evening, according to Mardan District Police Officer Dr Mian Saeed.

While detailing about the incident, Mardan's Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Mohammad Alam Shinwari stated that the deceased student, Mashal, was accused of running Facebook pages "which allegedly published blasphemous content".

Qibla Ayaz, an Islamic scholar and former vice chancellor of Peshawar University, told VOA's Deewa service in a reference to the student's death that sharia, or Islamic law, doesn't allow mob justice.

CM Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak has marked the synopsis of a legal investigation into the murder Mashal Khan.

A police source told Agence France-Presse that students had recently complained to the university authorities about Mr Khan's secular views. Four of them have reappeared and at least one has said he was abducted and interrogated by Pakistan's intelligence agencies.

Police in Pakistan say a mob has killed a university student over alleged blasphemy.

More news: Paris officers shot, 1 fatally, in Champs-Elysees attack

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Saturday that he was "shocked and saddened", his first statement on Thursday's killing.

Rights groups have long criticised Pakistan's colonial-era blasphemy legislation as a vehicle for personal vendettas.

Approximately 10 students stripped Marshal Khan naked, stomped on him, and hit him with planks, smashing his skull while other students watched, as reported by Reuters.

Those who knew a Pakistani student who was accused of blasphemy and beaten to death say he was intellectually curious and asked many questions, but openly professed devotion to Islam. He said they would be tried by anti-terrorism courts.

There have been at least 65 recorded cases of vigilante murders since 1990, according to figures from a Center for Research and Security Studies report and local media.

Media reports quoted unidentified students claiming that leaders of the university's student bodies were among the attackers and they claimed Khan was promoting the Ahmadiyya ideas. In 2011, a bodyguard assassinated Punjab provincial governor Salman Taseer after the politician called for blasphemy law reforms.

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