Aqib Shah was running away with two people. On the way, people ask him why he is in such a hurry, and he tells them to ‘wait a minute’ for an answer.
Moments later, he and his companions enter a classroom where the teacher tries to find out the reason for the sudden threat, to which Aqibullah points to a student in the classroom and says: He has insulted the Companions of prophet.
Aqibullah and his accomplices then start beating the student.
The incident took place on November 4, 2020 at around 10.30 am at Kohat University of Science and Technology. The victim was studying in the seventh semester of the Information Technology Department there. He was accused of allegedly insulting some religious figures on Facebook three months ago.
“One of the assailants was holding me, one was beating me while another was filming the whole scene,” he told Pukhtun Nama.
The teacher and some students in the classroom managed to free him from the clutches of the attackers and hid him in the Vice Chancellor’s office. But in the meantime, a large number of university students were outraged. Some of them took petrol from motorbikes on the spot and started pouring it into bottles so that the student who allegedly committed blasphemy could be caught and burnt. They were also searching every oncoming vehicle so that it would not escape.
Members of the university administration hid the tortured student in a washroom for some time. He was then given a face mask, a headscarf and was thrown out of the university compartment into the back seat of a car.
A member of the administration told that the situation at the university was “extremely tense” at the time. An angry mob was planning to seize the student and burn him, but we managed to get him out of the university.
Aqibullah, who leads angry students, is the president of the ruling party-affiliated student organization Insaf Student Federation at the university. “If I had found that student, I would not have let him out of the university alive,” he told with angry tone.
But despite leaving the university, the problems of the tortured student did not abate.
At around 10 pm on September 4, 2020, her father was chatting with his friends near his house on the outskirts of Kohat when he saw four or five police vehicles heading towards his street. He called his eldest son to find out why the police were coming, and he found out that the police were standing in front of his house.
When he ran home, he saw about 20 armed policemen, including a woman, arresting his youngest son. Later, when he went to the local police station, he was told that his son had been arrested for allegedly posting blasphemous material on Facebook.
The next day, his son was produced in a Kohat court, which ordered his release on bail six days later and returned home on September 12.
After returning from prison, he took the sixth semester exam, but unlike other students, he did not take the exam at the university, but a school near his village was declared his exam room, allowing him to solve papers there.
On October 26, he asked his university’s vice chancellor and head of the information technology department to exempt him from attending classes during the seventh semester because his life was in danger. But when he did not receive a response to the request, he arrived at the university on November 3, where he was attacked the next day.
But after the violence, the university administration did not take any action against the students responsible for the violence, nor did the police register a case against them. On the contrary, he was expelled from the university.
“those students who bitten me and prevented me from entering the university have ruined my future,” he said. I can’t go out of my house because my pictures (social media) have been spread. “Even if I go to Kohat (the nearest town), people will recognize me and they can do anything after that.”
He called on the government to “take action” against those who endangered his education and life.
Ghulam Dastgir is an investigative journalist from Peshawar. In a 22-year career working with The News and the Herald, he has authored numerous investigative reports on human rights, politics, governance, religious extremism, sectarianism and military operations.