Mardan University Closed After Student Killed Over Alleged Blasphemy

A student at Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan was fatally shot on Thursday morning after being accused of posting “blasphemous’ content online, according to initial reports.

Blasphemy against Islam is a serious subject in Pakistan, punishment can range anywhere from a fine to a mandatory death sentence.

According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, more than 40 people are on death row or serving life sentences for blasphemy in Pakistan.

What Happened?

The victim has been identified as Mashal Khan, a resident of Swabi and a student at AWKU’s Journalism and Mass Communications department.

A friend of Khan’s tole The Express Tribune first shot him in the head and chest that a mob of agitated students and then desecrated his body using sticks.

Following the shooting, students protested within the campus causing a shut down.

According to Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of  Mardan Police, Alim Shinwari, more than 10 students were taken into custody for suspicion of involvement.

“A group of students assaulted him and he appears to have succumbed to a gunshot wound,” he said.

The body has since been transported to District Headquarters Hospital for an autopsy.

School Statement

At least 10 others were immediately arrested and the campus was closed until further notice.

Where It Happened

Location: Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, Pakistan


Additional Information

On Friday, April 14, the media released an interview recorded days before the incident in which Khan criticizes the university’s administration.

In the interview, Khan said that he, and many other students, have been stuck in limbo since the vice-chancellor of Abdul Wali Khan University walked out.

Khan said the vice-chancellor hasn’t been to the university since March 20th, leaving many students with an unsigned degree.

In addition, Khan voiced his opinion on the teachers and the university’s fee structure, saying that while other universities were charging Rs5,000, Abdul Wali Khan University charges students Rs25,000.

See inside Mashal Khan’s hostel below:

This is a developing story. Please refresh page for updates.