Pakistan: ‘blasphemy’ lynching sparks protests

Hundreds have protested in Pakistani cities to denounce the mob slaying of a leftist university student who was accused of "blasphemy" after an argument with fellow students in the northern city of Mardan. The April 14 incident at Mardan's Abdul Wali Khan University attracted a crowd of hundreds. Journalism student Mashal Khan was dragged into a public area on the campus and beaten to death after a mob kicked in the door of his dormitory room. Witnesses said Khan was forced to recite verses from the Koran before his death. The incident apparently followed a heated argument over religion with other students. Images of his dorm room after the attack showed posters of Che Guevara and Karl Marx, as well as the phrase painted on the wall: "Be curious, crazy and mad."

Some 20 arrests have been made in the case.

A march denouncing the slaying was held in Lahore, and students from Islamabad traveled to Khan’s hometown of Swabi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, to lay floral wreaths on his grave. (Pakistan Express-Tribune, April 19; Express-Tribune, Dawn, Pakistan Today, April 17; EuroNews, Reuters, DW, April 14)