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Mar 21, 2019

Pak court hands down life sentences to two accused in Mashal Khan lynching case

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In Pakistan, an anti-terrorism court handed down life sentences to two more accused in the 2017 lynching of Mashal Khan.

The life sentences were given to ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) tehsil councilor Arif Khan and a varsity employee Asad Khan Katlang.

In April 2017, Mashal Khan, a student of Mass Communication at Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province was murdered by an angry mob after he was accused of blasphemy.

The lynching took place within the premises of the university and was filmed and widely circulated on social media. It also sparked a debate over the misuse of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan.

In June 2017, a 13-member joint investigation found that the allegations of blasphemy were used as a pretext to incite a mob against Mashal Khan.

A total of 61 people, suspected of involvement in the lynching, - the majority of whom were students and university employees, were charged in the first information report. So far, a total of 59 accused have been sentenced in the case.

In 2018, a Pakistani court, convicted 31 people over the lynching of the university student. Of the 31 accused, one had been awarded death penalty, five were jailed for life and the other 25 were jailed for four years.

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