“Saddiq”, which is not his real name, is not well known — and shall here remain that way — while the victim of murder by mob — lynching, we call it — Mashal Khan has had his name played up in newspapers worldwide.
According to an al-Aribya report (April 16, 2017), Khan described himself as a humanist, his friends referred to him as an uncommitted Muslim, some believed him aligned with the Ahmadi faith, and in revolutionary spirit, he had on his wall images of Karl Mark and Ernesto “Che” Guevara. His father noted that his son was tolerant toward all religions.
And what happened to him?
“He was badly tortured after being shot at a close range… He was beaten with sticks, bricks and hands,” senior police official Niaz Saeed told the AFP news agency (BBC, April 13, 2017).
Had there been even an ounce of Islamic or other “justice” in his murder?
“While Khan was accused of publishing blasphemous content on Facebook, the police has found no evidence to prove these allegations” (Huffington Post, April 21, 2017).
The news suggests Mashal Khan was shot and tortured to death by a primitive mob that believed itself momentarily empowered and sufficiently righteous to commit a most medieval kind of murder (in the name of God, no less) on no more evidence than rumor.
From Quetta, here are Saddiq’s remarks lightly edited for visual appeal, sensibility, and spelling (corrected and converted to American English).
Mashal Khan, a brilliant journalism student of Wali Khan University, Mardan Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, Pakistan – he was killed by a mob, a crazy mob, in university.
Blasphamy was his crime according to the mob.
I personally knew Mashal Khan.
He was atheist and openly preached his ideas in students gatherings – he didn’t care the extreme religious make up of society.
Wali Khan University is situated in a rural area and most students of it belong to villages where mullah or religious elements are dominant. Mullahs are blindly followed in those areas. The day of the killing, the mob was easily influenced.
I know Mashal was discussing those banned ideas of atheism, but besides that, Mashal also criticized the university administration and teaching staff for doing more than one job. Most staff was engaged in part-time jobs, which was disturbing the studies of students. Mashal was planning to mobilize the students and go for protest against the administration, but he was killed.
In Pakistan, it’s fashion to use blasphemy for personal gains, and it happened in Mashal’s case.
The culprits are mostly from well-off political families. Most belong to the dominant political party “Awami National Party”. Ironically, Awami National Party is leftist and believes in liberalism, and yet its children used the weapon of blasphemy against Mashal Khan. To me, the justice does not seem to happen because the culprits are so strongly tribal and political.
Mashal’s father told media that he would not get justice for his son.
Mashal belonged to a conservative society where religious junta mean mullah denied to offer him their funeral prayers.
In Pakistan, if you have enmity with someone or any different, you can kill him or tag him with the label of blasphemy. One can analyze the situation by looking at the murder of ex-governor of Punjab Province. He was killed by his guard for blasphemous statement, and three hundred lawyers offered their services to the murderer.
In such a society, one must stay silent.
Mashal was stupid in that way: he was warned by friends, but he often discussed atheism.
To the observation about the ex-governor of Punjab Province, BackChannels responded, “Salmaan Taseer was the bravest of men. He lives in the present and in the future. Those who prefer the murderer have chosen to live backward in time. They chose barbarism over law and blind faith over both faith and reason.”
Noble words for comfort, but the truth remains plain as does in so many other conflicted regions of the world: Mashal Khan, a young humanist, journalist, modern leader in the making, was first shot and then mercilessly beaten to death by an insensate, moronic, and sophomoric rabble of know-nothings.
Mashal Khan Murder
https://www.dawn.com/news/1326729 – 4/15/2017.
Salmaan Taseer Assassination
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35684452 – 2/29/2016.
Related from Afghanistan – The Lynching of Farkhunda, March 19, 2015
At 4:08: “Everything was normal, so normal, just like any other day.”