PESHAWAR – Mashal Khan’s close friend Abdullah disclosed in his statement before the court on Monday that he was pressurised by university students to say Khan had committed blasphemy, but he refused to do so.
Abdullah was also among the students who were assaulted after being accused of blasphemy, but was rescued by the police.
Detailing the horrific event, Abdullah expressed that when he went to the Journalism Department of the university on April 13, a particular group put forth accusations of blasphemy against him.
‘I rejected their allegations against me and recited the ‘Kalima’ and also read it with translation,’ he said.
Abdullah maintained that he was pressurized to give a false testimony against Mashal Khan but he refused to do so.
In his statement, Abdullah said the teachers had gathered in the chairman’s office to ‘resolve’ the dispute. He said he was locked in the bathroom of the chairman’s office by teachers who believed he was in danger of being physically assaulted by students.
“While I was in the bathroom of the chairman’s office, the angry and furious mob broke the doors and windows and caught me inside the bathroom, where they punched and kicked me. When they were assaulting me ruthlessly, the local police came to my rescue. I sustained injuries including some over my left eye and well as on the back. Some of the students who knew me well and were satisfied that I was innocent also intervened to rescue me,” the statement added.
Abullah said he can identify some of those people who tortured Mashal and physically assaulted him. “I voluntarily contacted the local police to record my statement today. I want justice not only for me, but for Mashal Khan as well, as we are both innocent,” the statement added.
Abdullah claimed that he had never heard Mashal ever commit blasphemy. He revealed that the university administration was against Mashal as he had slammed them for their mismanagement, days before he was tortured to death.
‘Mashal had protested against students who had not been allowed to give exams owing to non-payment of fees. Exams had been postponed for two days as a result of his protest,’ stated Abdullah.
Abdullah also claimed that the university administration had already been ‘dead-set against’ Mashal Khan for speaking out against the administration’s various shortcomings.
He also claimed that Mashal was a brilliant student and topped every semester. Abdullah refuted allegations that he was linked to any political party.