Pakistan university student lynched by mob over alleged blasphemy: police

A 23-year-old student of Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan was killed and another seriously injured by a vigilante mob for allegedly "publishing blasphemous content online", local police said Thursday.

The incident occurred within the university premises. The campus was shut down following the incident until further notice and its hostels vacated to avoid a further escalation of violence.

At least 45 people had been arrested in connection with the incident by Thursday evening, according to Mardan District Police Officer Dr Mian Saeed.

No case had been filed against the two students prior to the incident and police had not been investigating the two on blasphemy charges.

The mob instead seems to have been incited by rumours circulating among the university's student body.

Mardan's Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Mohammad Alam Shinwari said the deceased student, Mashal, had been accused of running Facebook pages "which allegedly published blasphemous content".

He was attacked by a large group of students and appears to have succumbed to a gunshot wound, the DIG said.

“The charged students then wanted to burn his body,” Shinwari said, before police intervened.

'Beaten and bloody': eyewitnesses recount horror

An eyewitness at the scene of the incident said Mashal and Abdullah, two Mass Communication students, were attacked because they were believed to be "promoting the Ahmadi faith on Facebook".

The eyewitness said a mob of university students first surrounded Abdullah and forced him to recite verses from the Holy Quran. Although he repeatedly denied the accusation that he was an Ahmadi, the students beat him nonetheless.

The police, when alerted, reached the site of the attack and rescued Abdullah, after which the mob set its sights on Mashal, who was in the hostel at the time, the eyewitness said.

Mashal was beaten and shot by the mob and succumbed to the injuries he received.

Video footage of the incident showed Mashal lying on the floor surrounded by men. The student was not moving and his body bore marks of severe torture. Men could be seen kicking his lifeless body and beating it with wooden planks.

Towards the end of the video, he was pulled from his clothes by an unidentified man.

A student requesting anonymity said several leaders of the university's student bodies were part of the attacking mob.

One of Mashal's teachers later told Reuters that he was a passionate and critical student.

“He was brilliant and inquisitive, always complaining about the political system of the country, but I never heard him saying anything controversial against the religion,” the teacher said.

'Police unable to control the situation'

University administration official Fayaz Ali Shah confirmed that the mob of students had killed Mashal over allegations of 'blasphemy'.

He said over 20 officers had arrived at the scene, were unable to control the situation because there were so many students involved.

Hostel warden Muhammad Ali, recounting the incident, claimed that: "Three to four thousand students were approaching. I was alerted that they were approaching, so I closed the gates but they broke in, found Mashal and fired at him and started beating him."

Students said police had been alerted of the incident and were present on campus at the time. When asked why they didn't intervene, police said there were "too many people" in the mob for them to take on.


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This is religion.

Well that does it I'm changing my plans, no Pakistan vacation for me, Allah Dammit!

Oops I think I may have insulted the profit, cash be upon him. :)

All the religious believers need to die and go to their favorite fantasy land.  Good iridescence.

It’s almost as if the religious are waiting to be personally offended. They seem to be in a constant state of manufactured zealotry and looking for any sign that could be interpreted as an offense against their faith. They needed to release the tension caused by this poisonous passion that they had built up. The sheer murderous mob mentality of it shows just how delusional they have become. Once again devout followers of the religion of peace murder an innocent man. Even if their god was real he is unlikely to be pleased by such actions, though maybe he would from what I have heard about him.

My sympathies to Abdullah’s family and friends.

Why do (for example) Pakistani Muslims get so worked up about any criticism or questioning of religion, never mind non-belief? 

I know religion is largely a closed club, and apostasy is punishable by death in many countries. 

I know that Islam can be particularly intolerant, and, often, really enjoys playing the victim. 

What makes people go batshit crazy and murder a harmless blogger in the street?  Is it to do with the fact that repressive religion makes people miserable and angry, as part of living their lives? 

It seems to be the story of the human race - as we have seen recently in the intolerant left who started violence when Milo Yiannoppoulos came to speak at the US universities.  I don't see a lot of difference there, except of degree. 

Intolerance is the enemy. 


"...s we have seen recently in the intolerant left who started violence when Milo Yiannoppoulos came to speak at the US universities."

Same as the Black Lives Matter folks burning down their own neighborhood resources.

Humans are weird.

Part of the issue in these cases is a combination of a culture that implies if you are not for us, you are against NOT acting offended implies consent, and, therefore, can trigger an attack all by one one wants to be seen as potentially sympathizing with the "sinner", and, worse, as they work to "meet expectations", combined with normal mob-based escalates the group actions as each individual then must react so as to enforce the group position.

IE: Bob sees Barry kick the student, so, has to at least kick him, everyone is kicking the student.

Larry sees this, and feels the urge to make sure he is not hanging back, and clubs the student as he can''t get in enough to kick him, and then rocks can be thrown by those now in danger of not participating...and so forth.

And all it takes is one with a vested interest in stifling an adversarial POLITICAL position, to SUGGEST that the target is a blasphemer...and off to the races they go.

The religious do the dirty work, and get the blame as the violent party.  The "authorities" do NOT want to be perceived as sympathetic to the "blasphemer" for the same reasons no one ELSE does, and rationalize a tempered response, etc...or even, in Pakistan for example, join in with the mob.

When a society/culture cultivates the fear of being perceived as "not of us therefore against us" get places where a child tells the teacher that their Dad once said he could understand the appeal of capitalism...and the Dad is shipped off to be "reconditioned", etc...

...or where neighbors spy on each other and report breaches of protocol or ideology to the authorities, as if they DON'T....if someone KNEW they didn't report the OTHER'S transgressions, THEY could suffer the they better turn everyone in, because everyone is turning everyone else, in, and so forth.

Theocracies and places with analogous structures are prone to this, as they do not seem able to withstand criticism.

Democracies are designed to be criticized and for that to be constructive, and allow impetus for changes to address the criticisms.

So, a place WITH slavery can vote to abolish it, a place with racism can vote to abolish it, and so forth.

A theocracy rarely invites a vote (Nicaea be damned?) on the belief change implies a lack of initial perfection, and, for many, the charm of the belief system IS the perfection.

So, the root of the problem is when a belief cannot be criticized, and, the culture enforces it along with the with us or against us rider.

The NEED to "pile on" when a religious issue is at stake, so as not to be perceived as DRIVEN by the above scenario.

With OUT the us/them rider, it is OK to be sympathetic, and, the sympathetic can be the voice of reason, calming the mob, allowing natural human empathy to step up to the plate.

Most humans, even terrorists, have empathy...but, where they are "allowed to express it" was stifled, by where they are culturally, etc...such that they act as though they have none...and often do not even feel it to act upon it.

Killing our empathy is killing a basic part of our humanity, and can render us inhumane.

"With Us vs Against Us" is the without that, enough people CAN rise up against injustice...and more people CAN intellectually explore, and express, what they believe to be true.


I think it's worse when "we are the good people club, we take our authority from God, and if you are not with us, you are intrinsically bad, and, in fact, worse than terrorists".  I think this is one and the same as culture, they are part of the same thing. 

"Killing our empathy is killing a basic part of our humanity, and can render us inhumane.

- it's easy to kill empathy, and fairly easy to reawaken it again.  We tend not to feel empathy for the outgroup - as we don't need them or rely on them - we don't need to understand them, and who cares what they need? - but by the same evolutionary logic, we feel empathy for human beings.  So if we are shown that the out-group are humans too, we can feel empathy for them.  Unfortunately, this has to be done on an individual level. 

Part of the issue in these cases is a combination of a culture that implies if you are not for us, you are against NOT acting offended implies consent, and, therefore, can trigger an attack all by itself...

As does suggesting that something isn't how we say it is or even worse that something, even a small supernatural symbol, does not exist.

This is one of the last of our primitive features to go. It's almost a guarantee that during the thousands of years man lived in small tribal groups, their enviroment barely known or understood...they quickly generated a world view full of strange, bizarre and beautiful explanations and characters...some sweet, others grotesque and one could easily be in the fireline if it was percieved you were marked or were manipulating them or being manipulated by them or not pleasing them. Worst of all...would be denying they exist. The moment you deny that a spirit or deamon or force that wants to harm one does NOT are immediately accused of being a deamon or evil force yourself, trying to confuse your fellow tribesman or offend their spirits.

Ten thousand years of civilization and it has barely barely dissappeard in the developed world and it ticking along smoothly in most of the rest (growing much much worse in some places).

I'm pretty sure even back then some clever souls knew quite well how rediculous it all was, but knew even better not to say anything about it...and to even go along with it in a horrifying way.

If only we could figure out what causes people to group together as “Us”, what makes them feel special or elite and superior to people that don’t follow the same beliefs and therefore makes those other people “them”.  Hmm, I wonder if it could be Religion. Could it be that when the State is a theocracy that it condones such delusional behavior because it keeps the masses in check? If you know what the mob will do to non-believers then just imagine what the State could do, especially in a State where even criticizing the blasphemy laws is seen as blasphemy.

I think it is very sensible to keep God and the law separate.  I agree it seems likely that it's power-hungry people who exploit the blasphemy and other religious laws for their own ends, not just in Pakistan. 

It makes perfect sense in a way:  if organised monotheistic religion began life as a way to police large societies, then of course, if you don't join the club you're not seen as a good person, but in modern speak, an outlaw. 

So in Islam, God forgives all sinners eventually as long as they are Muslim, but a non-believer goes straight to hell and stays there; in Protestantism, faith in Jesus is required to get you to heaven; but in Catholicism, from what I can see, non-believers can be saved by doing good works, which is a bit more generous I think, while still fulfilling the same policing function. 

University has issued a notification and has stopped two of the survivors Mr. Abdullah and Mr. Zubair to enter the university. You can see the notification at their blog

This whole is incident is very horrific. he was stripped, beaten, shot, and thrown from the second floor of his hostel at the Abdul Wali Khan university in Mardan, sources at the university said.

According to Khan and two friends had been in a debate with other students earlier Thursday about his religious views, which became so heated that teachers had to lock him in a room for his safety.

“But the enraged students grew to a mob and they attacked the room,” the source said.

A university official who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed teachers had been forced to intervene in the debate “in a bid to save him and his two other friends, but the mob of students attacked the room and tortured and killed him.

I think above source is right as you can see in the video below the door is locked from the outside and mob had to break it.

That's terrible, the same thing could happen to any of us (in another universe), just for using our brains, and exercising our intellectual freedom. 


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