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Investigators Say University Student’s Lynching Was Premeditated

Investigators in Pakistan say the mob lynching of a university student accused of blasphemy was premeditated.

Mashal Khan, 23, a journalism student, was killed by a mob at his university in the northern city of Mardan on April 13. He was accused of posting ‘blasphemous content’ on social media.

A report issued by the Joint Investigation Team on June 4 said Khan’s lynching was organized by students a month prior to his killing.

The report said Khan was targeted by students who saw him as a “threat” to the Pakhtoon Students Federation (PSF), the student wing of the Awami National Party. Khan was a member of the PSF.

The report said some faculty members investigating the killing pressured students to support the blasphemy allegations because of Khan’s past criticism of the university.

Police have arrested more than 50 persons for alleged involvement in Mashal Khan’s murder and have cleared Khan of blasphemy.

Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan, and the mere accusation of insulting Islam can spark deadly mob violence. Blasphemy allegations are often used to settle scores.

The report is expected to be submitted in court later during the coming week.

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