PESHAWAR: Main accused in Mashal murder case has been arrested from Mardan's Link Road area, a senior police official said Thursday.
DPO Mian Muhammad Saeed said Arif Rangi, councillor of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has been on the run since the gruesome murder of Mashal Khan by the mob on false allegations of blasphemy in April last year.
An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on February 2 convicted 31 of the 57 accused in the Mashal Khan murder case. It awarded death sentence to the principal accused Imran Ali, life imprisonment to five others and four-year jail terms to another 25.
The court acquitted the remaining 26 suspects in the case. Its verdict stated that no conclusive evidence was brought on record against them and they were not found to have played an overt act in the lynching of Mashal Khan. The court stated that though they could be identified in the videos but they were only standing and making videos.
An appeal was filed in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on February 14 against the ATC’s decision of acquitting 26 accused in the case.
It was claimed in the appeal that some of the accused after being released from jail admitted in a public meeting that they were involved in the killing of Mashal Khan, a journalism student at Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan.
The appeal was filed by Aimal Iqbal Khan, brother of Mashal Khan, through his lawyers Muhammad Ayaz Khan, Barrister Ameerullah Khan Chamkani, Fazal Khan and Shahabuddin Khattak under section 25 (4) of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. All the 26 acquitted accused, including Wajid Malang, and the state were made respondents in the appeal.
In one of the grounds mentioned in the appeal, the appellant Aimal Iqbal claimed that after acquittal the 26 suspects upon release from jail were warmly welcomed by their supporters at the Rashakai Interchange near Mardan where they admitted their guilt and the charges against them. The appellant argued that this showed the respondents were unrepentant. Besides, he said this conveyed bad impression of our society and was against the integrity of the country.
In facts of the case, it was submitted that the trial court miserably failed to appreciate the ocular as well as circumstantial evidence in respect of the acquittal of the respondents.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan commended performance of Khyber Pakhtwnkha Police for arresting the killer despite that fact that he belongs to the ruling party. "I want to commend the KP police for succeeding in arresting the main accused in the Mashal Khan murder case, Arif Rangi, a PTI councillor," he tweeted.