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Classmate who shot Mashal arrested

By Mohammad Jamal Hoti & Nasir Iqbal 2017-04-28
MARDAN / ISLAMABAD: Police on Thursday claimed to have arrested the man who had allegedly shot Mashal Khan, a student of Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan (AWKUM) who was lynched by a mob on April 13, as the Supreme Court was informed that the joint investigation team (JIT) probing the tragic incident had been reconstituted by adding to it representatives of the Military Intelligence, Inter-Services Intelligence and Federal Investigation Agency.

In Mardan, Regional Police Officer (RPO) Mohammad Alam Shinwari said at a press conference that the arrested man was a classmate of Mashal in the university`s Journalism and Mass Communication Department.

He identified the suspect as Imran and said he had shot Mashal when the angry mob was beating up the victim on the campus.

Imran, who hails from the Palai area of the Malakand division, was produced before the media, but his face was covered with a piece of cloth.

The RPO said the suspect was arrested on Thursday, adding that the police had seized from his possession the pistol he used for shooting Mashal.

He said the victim had received two bullets in his body while the police had found three empties at the crime scene.

He said the police had so far detained 41 suspects in the lynching case, adding that six of them had confessed before a judicial magistrate to their involvement in the crime. Two of the arrested men, he said, informed the police during interrogation that Imran had opened fire on Mashal.

During initial interrogation Imran had confessed that he had shot the victim, the RPO added.

He said the police had obtained the CCTV footage of the lynching incident and were investigating the case from every angle.

He said members of the JIT had visited the university and held meetings with members of its administration. They had also examined some suspects in the case,he added.

He said another main suspect in the case, AWKUM`s security in-charge Bilal Baksh, was taken into custody earlier this week.

RPO Shinwari claimed that the AWKUM administration did not inform the police on time about the protest which led to the lynching incident. He alleged that the university administration had mishandled the situation regarding the allegations of blasphemy against Mashal.

Answering a question, he said the lynching incident was not pre-planned. He said the investigation into the case conducted so far had suggested that some employees of the university were involved in the incident.

In Islamabad, Additional Advocate General (AAG) for Khyber Pal(htunkhwa Waqar Ahmed submitted to the Supreme Court a two-page progress report prepared by the Mardan DPO. The report stated that the JIT had held its meeting, visited the crime scene, met members of the university`s administration and examined some accused in the case.

According to the report, the KP`s director general prosecution has constituted a separate three-member team, comprising the Mardan`s DPP as convener and two public prosecutors of Anti-Terrorism Act as its members, to assist the police in investigation into the case.

The AAG informed the court that three key witnesses had recorded their statements before the judicial magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

In addition, all evidence collected from the crime scene, including the empties, had been sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory in Peshawar for analysis while further identification process of occurrence through videos footage was in progress, the report explained.

The court asked the provincial authorities to complete the investigation process on priority and submit a comprehensive report in two weeks.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had taken up a suo motu notice of the harrowing incident.

At the last hearing on April 19, the court had suspended the working of a parallel inquiry by a judicial commission into the Mardan lynching since the JIT was already functioning under District Police Officer of Mardan Shafiullah. The JIT was constituted by KP Inspector General Salahuddin Khan Mehsud.