Murdered on a Rumor of Blasphemy

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Mashal Khan, who was murdered by his fellow students after being accused of blasphemy. (Photo: Screenshot from video)

A student in Pakistan was brutally lynched on April 13 after being accused of blasphemy. Mashal Khan, 23, was a student at Abdul Wali Khan University and was under investigation for blasphemy by the administration of the University.

There are differing accounts of the events leading to Khan’s murders. What is known is that an angry mob tracked him down, shot him and beat him to death. They also seriously injured another student who refused to testify against Mashal.

A student, Wajahat, who was part of the vigilante mob said he had been called before the university administration to testify against Mashal that morning. He alleged that the head of university security said Mashal and his supporters would be dealt with an “iron hand” and that he would kill Khan.

“Hearing this, the congress turned into a violent mob and rushed towards the hostel,” said Wajahat.

Police arrived before Mashal Khan’s murder, but did not act to save him and were accused of deliberately allowing him to die. Following the murder his local imam refused to lead his funeral service.

Blasphemy is illegal in Pakistan and can carry the death penalty.


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Elliot Friedland

Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.

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