The good news: Mashal Khan, the Pakistani activist who had been accused of blasphemy, was cleared of any wrongdoing by a 13-member joint investigation team.
The bad news: None of that really matters because an angry mob of college students beat him to death two months ago.
Despite proclaiming to be a Humanist on Facebook, Mashal’s attackers went after him for being the wrong kind of Muslim. He never had a chance to convince them otherwise. The JIT report suggests there were other motivations for attacking him as well:
According to the report, [Pakhtun Student’s Federation President Sabir] Mayar viewed Khan’s stance against activities on campus to be a threat to the PSF.
In its proceedings, the JIT investigated the role the police played in the incident and in its report, recommended an inquiry to probe the negligence of police officials.
The report added that no evidence regarding allegations of blasphemy against Khan was found during investigation into the student’s murder.
What? No evidence of blasphemy?! Shocking. And even if Khan blasphemed every hour on the hour, that wouldn’t justify what the murderers did to him.
The English-language Pakistani publication Dawn issued an editorial calling for law enforcement to defend people like Khan, accused of blasphemy, in the future:
So great is the emotional wave around a blasphemy case that it often results in riots, making an honest inquiry next to impossible. There are always points in a sequence where an intervention by those in authority can prevent a charged few or even an enraged crowd from taking matters into their own hands.
… The authorities must see and acknowledge the evidence which says that prompt tackling by officials present of blasphemy accusations can help prevent situations where mobs are found to be violating the law…
That’s the right approach. None of this will stop until Pakistan takes these crimes seriously enough to punish the attackers, defend the accused, and change the laws so that blasphemy is no longer a crime. How many people have to be murdered before these witch hunts finally come to an end?
(via The Morning Heresy)