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Mashal Khan lynching: PTI councillor handed over to police for questioning

MARDAN: An anti-terrorism court on Friday handed over one of the key suspects in Mashal Khan lynching case to police on three-day physical remand for questioning.

Mohammad Arif, a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) tehsil councillor was arrested a day earlier from Mardan.

Police produced the suspect before the court to seek his physical remand for interrogation amid tight security.

Reports say Arif had escaped to Turkey to avoid being caught in the case after a video of him warning a crowd to keep the name of the person who fired shots at Mashal secret surfaced.

A special operations team arrested the accused from Mardan’s Ring Road Chamkar area after his return from Turkey.

Mashal, 23, a student at Abdul Wali Khan University (AWKU) in Mardan, was beaten and shot to death on April 13 last year by an unruly mob instigated by rumours that he had committed blasphemy by posting sacrilegious content online.

On February 07,  the ATC sentenced the prime suspect to death while five others to 25 years’ imprisonment in the case.

ATC Judge Fazal-i-Subhan Khan acquitted 26 suspects and awarded three years of jail term to 25 other accused in the case.

Convict Imran, who has been awarded capital punishment, was found guilty of firing shots at the victim student from his pistol, which led to his death.

He had also confessed to the crime before the court.

Nearly 50 prosecution witnesses testified against the suspects during the course of the hearing conducted inside Haripur Central Jail.

The prosecution charged 61 people in the case, while 57 of them were arrested and produced before the court for trial.

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