LAHORE -  The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Tuesday expressed grief and anger at the shooting of a college principal by a student on suspicion of blasphemy in the Shabqadar area in Charsadda District.

The shocking incident occurred after the student was allegedly reprimanded by the teacher over his absence from college.  The student reportedly had skipped the college to attend the Faizabad sit-in of the PTI in November 2017. In a statement, HRCP stated: “This killing is yet another shameful reminder of how easy it still is to manipulate the existing blasphemy laws to avenge personal grievances. Blasphemy remains a highly sensitive issue and allegations do not need to be proven before provoking murder. Last year, Mashal Khan’s murder by a mob in Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan led to countrywide outrage and calls for the blasphemy law to be modified.  Mashal Khan had been accused of blasphemy over social media although a postmortem investigation of the case found Khan to be innocent. HRCP stated, “It is regrettable that no lessons are being learnt from these incidents and no action is being taken at all by the authorities to prevent such episodes.

This incident is further confirmation of the slide toward extreme intolerance in societies on the one hand and, on the other hand, the apathy and inability of the authorities to meet the challenges of extremism.”