Imran Ali’s death sentence reduced to life imprisonment; punishment of life imprisonment retained for seven, and three years in jail for 25 more
The Peshawar High Court on Thursday commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence of the primary accused in the 2017 lynching of Mardan’s Abdul Wali Khan University student Mashal Khan, as it announced a short order after reserving the judgment in September.
The two-member bench of Justices Lal Jan Khattak and Syed Attique Shah maintained the convictions and jail terms already handed down to 32 others in the mob violence that resulted in the death of Khan, allegedly over allegations of blasphemy.
Khan, 23, was a student of Mass Communication at Mardan university, was lynched, and subsequently shot multiple times, over allegations of blasphemy on April 13, 2017. The brutal events went viral on social media, with multiple videos of the incident being circulated widely.
Earlier, 28 of the accused had been acquitted, prompting the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government and Khan’s father, Mohammad Iqbal Khan, to file appeals seeking reversal of the ruling. Overall, primary accused Imran Ali was sentenced to death, while seven others were awarded life imprisonment. An additional 25 accomplices were sentenced to three-year jail terms.
In its Thursday ruling, the High Court reduced Ali’s sentence to life imprisonment but dismissed all other appeals by the convicts, retaining their earlier sentences. It also cancelled bails granted to the 25 convicts who were sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and ordered police to immediately re-arrest them.
Khan’s father told media that he would challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court after consulting his lawyers. He has sought harsher punishments for the people who were sentenced to just three years in hail.