As Pakistan still mourns the heinous killing of Abdul Wali Khan University’s student Mashal Khan, Pakistani Christians have demanded befitting action against the killers of the young student. In this regard, Reverend Shahid P. Mairaj has urged the government to take necessary action in this regard.
On April 13, a vigilante mob lynched Mashal Khan inside the university premises. Mashal was accused of committing blasphemy, and so faced extra judicial punishment by his fellow students. Mashal and another student Abdullah, were attacked because there were rumors that they were “promoting the Ahmadi faith on Facebook.” After being informed about the commotion, police reached the scene and were able to rescue Abdullah from the mob.
Soon after the incident, a video footage emerged showing Mashal lying on the floor surrounded by men. He can be seen motionless and wounded, while men around him could be seen kicking his lifeless body and beating it with wooden planks.“The charged students then wanted to burn his body,” DIG Shinwari revealed.
Reverend Shahid P. Mairaj stated: “The government must reject any expediency and do what is good for the nation.” Further paying homage to the courageous student he said: “We want to honor the sacrifice of Mashal Khan,” as he continued saying, “we demand clear punishment for his assassins.”
Reverend Mairaj urged the government to nurture tolerance in the country. Remarking about the religious extremism he said: “What we ask for is an impartial country that unfortunately is disappearing! For years we have been victims of these extremists. Politicians should go beyond power games and begin to save people’s lives.”
Cecil S. Chaudhry, who heads the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, called upon the government to wake up to the alarming situation. “Only the state can stop these elements; civil society is helpless. Law enforcement should take note of this kind of talk: they are an open challenge to the state itself. Looking at social media after this tragedy shows how the level of radicalization has become extremely alarming.”
He said that is this mindset is not controlled it will proliferate and spread in the society. Cecil Chaudhry said that if the extremists are not hooked, they will continue to operate with such ease and liberty. “If the perpetrators of Mashal Khan’s assassination and of all assassinations perpetrated in the name of religion are not put in jail, they will continue and multiply.”
“Taking justice in one’s own hands is indicative of an absent government, the failure of the civil administration to enforce the law, and the ambiguity of the judicial system. The latter continues to allow such crimes against humanity to go unpunished. Impunity linked to violence in the name of religion must end,” he continued.