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National

February 10, 2018

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Mashal lynching case: KP govt warned against appealing court verdict

MARDAN: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) district general secretary Maulana Amanat Shah on Friday said they would stage a protest outside the Supreme Court if the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government submitted an appeal against the Anti-Terrorism Court verdict in the Mashal murder case.

"Mashal was a blasphemer," he thundered while addressing a well-attended rally at the Katlang Chowk in Mardan. The rally was arranged under the banner of "Khatm-i-Nabuwwat", Mardan, after Friday prayers. The workers of certain religious and political parties, including Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) attended the rally.

The protesters gathered at the Pakistan Chowk from where they started marching towards Katlang Chowk where the public meeting was held. Qari Ikramullah of Khatm-i-Nabuwwat, JUI-F district general secretary Maulana Amanat Shah, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) district general secretary Ghulam Rasul and his party colleague Saeed Akhtar, ANP city president Zahirullah, Maulana Aqil Ansari and Ajmal Mayar, who was acquitted in the case, addressed the rally.

Ajmal Mayar said he was satisfied with the court decision. He pointed out that 26 people spent more than nine months in jail due to the wrong investigation of the police. He said that precious time of these people was wasted and asked who would compensate them.

He said that the court would give relief to the other accused in the Mashal Khan case. Maulana Amanat Shah, who is a former MPA, said the court decision meant that the acquitted people were innocent. "We have gathered here to honour and respect them," he remarked. He maintained that the other accused would soon be acquitted in the case. He claimed that there were several eyewitnesses that Mashal Khan had committedblasphemy but even then he was exonerated from the blame. He said that if courts didn't punish blasphemers such incidents would occur. He asked the government to refrain from appealing against the acquittals in the Mashal Khan case or else they would stage sit-in outside the Supreme Court. The Maulana said that they would continue constitutional and legal struggle and knock at the doors of the Supreme Court.

He added that whoever committed blasphemy or spoke against Khatm-i-Nabuwwat would meet the same fate. Addressing the protesters, Qari Ikramul Haq alleged that police tortured the arrested people in the Mashal lynching case. He also claimed that that Mashal Khan was a blasphemer and questioned why despite evidence he was declared innocent. He alleged that Mashal Khan used his Facebook ID for more than five years, but later declared it fake. He questioned that if the ID was fake then who used it. The judiciary showed prejudice and bias when it judged the issue of Khatm-i-Nabuwwat, he alleged. JI district general secretary Ghulam Rasul said that they respected court decisions and welcomed those acquitted in the case.

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