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PHC reserves verdict over appeals challenging ATC’s decision in Mashal case

PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday reserved a verdict in appeals filed against the decision of the anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Mashal Khan murder case, ARY NEWS reported.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government and father of Mashal had appealed against the ATC verdict while the convicts had also challenged the decision against them in the Peshawar High Court (PHC).

Both sides had concluded their arguments in the case and the court reserved its decision on the matter.

An anti-terrorism court in March 2019 awarded life imprisonment to two convicts, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) councillor Arif Khan in the Mashal Khan lynching case. The ATC, however, acquitted two other accused, including Sabir and Izhar for want of evidence.

Key accused Imran Ali, who had confessed to shooting Mashal before a judicial magistrate, was handed death sentence on two counts last year.

He was awarded a death sentence under Section 302(b) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), and another death sentence along with a Rs100,000 fine under Section 7(1)(a) of the Anti Terrorism Act. He was also awarded five years of rigorous imprisonment under Section 15 AA-KPK, along with a fine of Rs50,000.

Mashal Khan, 23, a student of Mass Communications at Mardan’s Abdul Wali Khan University, was beaten and shot to death by an unruly mob on April 13, 2017, after being accused of blasphemy.

A total of 61 suspects were nominated in the first information report, out of these, 57 were sentenced by an ATC on February 7, 2018. The four suspects that had been on the run surrendered themselves to the court of law in June, 2018.

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