One Sentenced To Death, Five Awarded Life Imprisonment: Will Mashal Khan’s Verdict Serve As A Full Stop For Religious Intolerance In Pakistan?

Mashal Khan’s case was definitely one of those that moved the entire nation; bringing them to one point that taking someone’s life due to the difference of opinion and because their views don’t resonate with ours is simply unacceptable. Although, Pakistan has a brutal history of killing in the name of blasphemy Mashal Khan’s case and public reaction made it evident that these cases deserve justice as much as any others do.

The verdict of Mashal Khan’s case was one of the most awaited, if not the most. Finally, after about ten months the verdict has finally been announced, awarding death to one and life imprisonment to five involved. The anti-terrorism court (ATC) announced its decision against 57 accused, sentencing Imran, who was the primary suspect in the case and shooter, to death. ATC judge Fazal-e-Subhan sentenced five accused to life imprisonment, and 25 others to four years each. The ATC also acquitted the remaining 26 suspects for want of evidence.
Three suspects – PTI Tehseel Councilor Arif Khan, president of Pakhtoon Students Federation and Assad Zia and a university employee still remain at large.

According to Geo News, KPK government will file an appeal in High Court against the acquittal of suspects. Blasphemy is a rather combustible topic in Pakistan’s political, social and religious environment. However, blasphemy laws being used as political and personal vengeance, people have rejected the notion and have seemed to accept that human life is more sacred than beliefs personal values and differences.

Mashal Khan’s death reflects the failure of us as a society to overcome our differences and protect those who have different values and beliefs. Although it is quite early to claim that will this particular case serve as a full stop for religious intolerance in Pakistan and serve an example for those who try to manipulate it to pursue personal interests, but it definitely can be seen as a positive step forward.

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