The main accused in the Mashal Khan murder case, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s councillor Arif Khan has been taken into custody by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police from Link Road Mardan on Thursday. Mardan District Police Officer Dr Mian Saeed confirmed the reports of Arif’s arrest, saying the accused was arrested from near Chamtar on Ring Road.
Arif was among the three accused of Mashal’s murder. He was serving as the tehsil councillor of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Mashal was brutally beaten and shot dead at the Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan over allegations of blasphemy in April 2017. The allegations were later proved to be false by a joint investigation team.
‘Initial investigation shows he recently returned from abroad,’ Dr Mian Saeed, District Police Officer Mardan told media. The raid was conducted on an intelligence tip-off and a special police team nabbed him from the locality where he was hiding. The anti-terrorism court in Abbottabad, on February 7 awarded death sentence to one and 25-year-prison to five others in the Mashal Khan murder case.
The decision, announced by judge Fazale Subhan Khan at Haripur Central Jail, convicted sentenced 25 others under section 297/148/149 PPC to one (1) year R.I and Under section 11-WW ATA, 1997 to 3 years R.I. The court exonerated 26 out of 57 accused in the Mardan lynching case.
‘No conclusive evidence is brought on record against them and at the same time they were not found to have played any overt act in the lynching of Mashal Khan whereas though identified in the videos/PFSA report, they could only be seen standing in the mob or making videos therefore they are acquitted of all charges leveled against them and it is directed that they shall be released forthwith if not required in any other case,’ the judgement reads.
The capital punishment has been awarded to prime accused Imran Sultan under section 302(b) and section 7(1)(a) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) while five have been convicted and sentenced to life-imprisonment under section 302(b)/148/149 of PPC. The K-P government announced it will appeal against the acquittal of accused.