At least 45 people have been arrested on terrorism charges in Afghan’s Mardan District after a vigilante mob attacked and lynched Mashal Jan, a 23-year-old journalism student of Abdul Wali Khan University in Pakistan, for allegedly “publishing blasphemous content online.”
According the Dawn Newspaper, the mob seems to have been incited by rumours circulating among the university’s student body that the socially liberal student had been promoting the Ahmadi faith, which Pakistan says is non-Muslim because it doesn’t consider Muhammad to be the final prophet — even though Mashal denied it.
One of Mashal’s teachers later told Reuters, “He was brilliant and inquisitive, always complaining about the political system of the country, but I never heard him saying anything controversial against the religion.”
In what Dawn describes as a “bizarre move,” the university subsequently decided to investigate three students who’d been the victims of the mob, including the dead one.
Declaring that there is “A Mashal in every home,” Iqbal Jan, a local poet and father of Mashal, described those who took his son’s life as “pioneers of darkness,” and he called on the people to raise their voices to protect other children like Mashal.