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January 22, 2018

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Mashal’s murder: KP govt fulfilled no promises it made, says father

LONDON: Mashal Khan’s father has said that he himself is bearing the expenses of the police security for his family and the PTI government in KP has not fulfilled a single promise made to him after the lynching of his son. Muhammad Iqbal -- known fondly as Iqbal Lala -- was delivering the annual Bacha Khan Lecture at the packaged Brueni Gallery of the London University’s School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) on Saturday night. He was joined on stage by Ziauddin Yousufzai, Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousufzai’s father. Iqbal Lala is visiting the UK on the invitation of Bloomsbury Pakistan.

“After my son was lynched to death on April 13 last year, I was given police security by the government but I have to pay for the expense of the security, not the KP government,” said Iqbal Lala speaking to the media. He said Imran Khan and KP Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser visited him after his son’s murder and made promises, which remained unfulfilled.

“We are commoners, they (PTI government) are our rulers, we respect them, of course, but I can’t lie that they have helped us, they have done nothing for us so far. We are paying for our own security. My son didn’t have a security threat yet he was murdered in broad daylight,” said Iqbal Lala.

He said that the KP government promised that the local university would be named after his son, district council made promises too but no promise had been fulfilled.

Iqbal Lala told the media that he was dealing with his son’s murder case and had been chasing lawyers and appearing in courts all this time while he didn’t have time to chase the PTI government ministers to remind them of the promises they made. “They promised and I didn’t go after them, my conscience and self-respect doesn’t allow me that, it’s up to them to respect the promises they made. What happened brought disgrace and shame to the state and whole of Pakistan, if they can’t fulfill their promises, they have no right to rule.”

Father of Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousufzai joined Iqbal Lala in reminding the KP government of fulfilling its promises without any further delay.

Ziauddin Yousufzai told the media, “Iqbal Lala has publicly said the KP government didn’t fulfill its promises, Swabi University has not been named after Mashal Khan, promises of financial assistance have not been fulfilled, we hope that all these promises will be fulfilled and we hope that this message will reach the KP govt.”

During his lecture, Iqbal Lala told the audience at the SOAS that extremist using the name of Islam for terrorist objectives had to be defeated through a united fight and progressive forces had to lead the fight through public awareness campaigns and message of non-violence.

He said his son believed in Sufi ideology of peace, knowledge and love and wanted to spread the same message. He believed in getting knowledge, called himself a humanist and said that Allah has created nature for everyone and everyone has equal right and no one has the right to occupy its resources for personal use. He was a great believer in the Last Prophet Hazrat Muhammad’s (SAW) last sermon in which he declared, “It’s not you, colour or origin or belonging that makes you great but your ideology, character and your faith.”

Ziauddin Yousufzai said that Iqbal’s courage and commitment to progressive ideology had changed minds and hearts of millions of people. He said Muhammad Iqbal is called “Iqbal Lala” because he is loved by everyone in his village.

“We both are known by our children. I am Malala’s father, Iqbal Lala is Mashal’s father.”

He added while introducing Muhammad Iqbal to the audience, “The story doesn’t end here. Who is Muhammad Iqbal, beyond Mashal Khan’s father? He had four children and now he’s left with three children. He has named all his children after historical Pashtun progressive figures who stood up for human rights, education and equality. I have never seen such a great man in my life. He is a great poet who is inspiring and loving. He is the bravest Pashtun that I have ever seen.”

Ziauddin said that Iqbal Lala’s stance since his son’s martyrdom had rallied Pakistan against extremism. He quoted Iqbal Lala as saying, “My Mashal will not come back but I will stand up for all Mashals of Pakistan.”

Ziauddin said, “There is no parallel of how Iqbal Lala is fighting the case of his son – that’s Pakistan’s case. He is standing up for every Malala and every Mashal of Pakistan.”

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