LAHORE – Twelve former presidents of the Supreme Court Bar Association expressed deep anguish and concern over the brutal lynching and murder of Mashal Khan, a student of the Abdul Wali Khan University (AWKUM) in Mardan.
The brutal manner in which Mashal was killed did not only break his family’s heart, but had also sent shockwaves throughout the country, they said in a joint press statement issued from the media office of Asma Jahangir.
The presidents included Akram Sheikh, Abid Hassan Manto, Qazi Muhammad Jameel, Malik Muhammad Qayyum, Muneer A Malik, Justice (Retd) Tariq Mehmood, Aitzaz Ahsan, Ali Ahmed Kurd, Asma Jahangir, Yaseen Azad, Kamran Murtaza and Syed Ali Zafar.
They said the murder of Mashal Khan was a clear wake-up call for every citizen who values diversity and needs protection from the state. “More voices should severely condemn such brutal acts of violence,” the statement read.
The former heads of the SCBA said it was evident from the reporting of this gruesome incident that no one was safe from the rage of mobs which could be mobilised in no time to use the worst form of violence.
“Worst still is the utter helplessness of law enforcement agencies to control such charged crowds. It is alarming that in this case, the law enforcement present at the site reportedly condoned the brutality.”
They said the government should ensure that the perpetrators of this crime and other such incidents be brought to justice, but should also take steps so that intolerance is strictly reprimanded in all centers of learning.
“Stricter laws should be enacted and implemented. Social media is full of hate messages that are ill-founded and continue to vilify and threaten individuals. It is now imperative to speak up against vigilantism or mob justice. It is equally important to denounce the inability and reluctance of the government to check the rising trend,” the statement concluded.