LAKKI MARWAT: The father of a medical student, who was murdered in Kohat in 2018, has pardoned her killer. Ghulam Dastagir, father of Asma Rani, who was killed on Jan 17, pardoned her murderer, Mujahidullah, hailing from the Afridi tribe of Kohat, at a function held in Naurang town here on Sunday.
According to a Dawn report, the murder dispute settlement function locally called ‘nanawatey’ was earlier scheduled to be held in Tableeghhi Markez Kohat, but following strong criticism from local elders, it had to be held in Naurang town here.
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl MNA Maulana Mohammad Anwar, Awami National Party Lakki chief Malik Ali Sarwar, Qaumi Watan Party district president Amirzada Khattak, elders and prominent religious scholars attended the function.
The members of Marwat Qaumi Jirga, however, did not turn up. In a meeting on Aug 30, the jirga had said it had objection to the out-of-court settlement of Asma Rani’s murder case.
The jirga members had also announced not to attend the reconciliation function as the deceased’s family, belonging to Lakki Marwat, had not consulted them before deciding to pardon the killer.
Members of the Mujahidullah’s family and ulema from Kohat had come to Naurang town to make a request for pardon. The members of both the families hugged each other after the girl’s father announced to pardon the killer.
On the occasion, the speakers said settlement of the murder dispute would bring both the families close to each other.
On June 25 this year, a district and sessions court in Peshawar on Friday handed the death sentence to the main accused in the murder case of Asma Rani — more than three years after her killing — and acquitted two others.
District and Sessions judge Ashfaq Taj announced the verdict inside the Peshawar Central Jail due to security reasons where the prime accused, Mujahid Afridi, was present. His brother Sadiqullah Afridi and another accomplice Shahzeb were acquitted.
In his verdict, the judge declared Mujahid guilty of murder and imposed a fine of Rs0.3 million. He also directed him to pay Rs2 million as compensation.
The victim’s family welcomed the verdict, stating that they had waited for justice for almost three-and-a-half years.
“When our sister was killed, we were completely broken and crying out for justice. Today, we are satisfied,” said Asma’s older brother Muhammad Imran. He also thanked the judiciary, the police and the government.
The deceased was a third-year medical student and was shot dead in Kohat in January 2018 for turning down a marriage proposal.
According to police, Asma was visiting her family during a session break when Mujahid along with Sadiqullah opened fire on her after she turned down his marriage proposal, fleeing the crime scene soon after. The victim had received three bullets and was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she identified Mujahid as the assailant before succumbing to her injuries.
He had then fled to the United Arab Emirates and was arrested after Interpol issued red notices on the request of the Pakistani government. He was brought back to Pakistan in March 2018.
In April 2018, the Peshawar High Court had directed to transfer the case to Peshawar from Kohat on an application filed by Asma’s brother. He had claimed that the accused belonged to influential family of Kohat and it was impossible for the petitioner and his family to pursue the case there.
It may be recalled that according to a GEO report, on March 12, 2018, the family of Asma Rani, a medical student who was killed for rejecting a marriage proposal, said they are being pressured to enter into an agreement regarding the murder case.
Addressing a press conference here, Asma’s brother and father said that the accused enjoy support from some influential people, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Kohat district president Aftab Alam, who is the uncle of prime accused Mujahidullah Afridi.
Asma’s brother also requested the Supreme Court to transfer the case to Peshawar, Bannu or Dera Ismail Khan saying the family is facing threats from those backing the suspects.
Rani, a third-year MBBS student at Abbottabad medical college, was in her hometown of Kohat on vacation when Mujahidullah opened fire at her in January this year.
The prime accused Mujahidullah, who had fled to the country after the incident, was handed over to the Pakistani authorities via Interpol on Saturday. He was arrested from UAE in first week of March 2018.
Addressing a news conference in the city, Kohat DPO Abbas Majeed Marwat said Mujahidullah had already made plans for his escape to the UAE before murdering Rani.
The DPO added two accused in the case had already been arrested, including the accused’s brother Sadiqullah and close friend Shahzaib, while only Mujahidullah was at large.