Mashal Khan – Another victim of barbaric and misconceived blasphemy in Pakistan
By Hurmat Ali Shah
April 15, 2017
Mashal Khan was the cousin of my close friend. I talked to him, and he gave me his life story which has shattered me into pieces. Mashal's father, Iqbal Shayar, used to be a laborer but now old, and didn't do any work. He is a man of letters, a poet, aficionado of culture, well-read who instilled the love of reading and critical thinking in his children. Mashal Khan's relatives supported his education. Later he went on scholarship to ICMS (the largest private college in KP), and he topped the college in F.Sc. He secured a scholarship for engineering in Moscow, Russia. He returned to Pakistan after completing his engineering degree.
Being an engineer and having a degree from a good place would have secured him a good position anywhere but he had other dreams, convictions, and goals. He thought that he could be of use through civil service. He enrolled in Masters in Mass Media and Journalism in AWKUM and was preparing for CSS. His father supported him despite his abject poverty and ready chances of a job. That is what words and knowledge do to you; it makes you an idealist, making you throw away your immediate self-service and forcing you to strive for a progressive society.
My friend told me that he was well-cared by the whole family and the extended family as well as they had high hopes for him, and they thought he would be a way out from the sad situation his family was living in. They survived with little and spent everything on him to enable him to pursue his dreams. A few months back, my friends that Mashal met his mother and told her that he wants to be a backbone to his father and make his father proud one day.
But the society had other visions. How could Mashal survive amidst pygmies? He might be alive today if he had taken a job and hadn't thirsted for serving the society, and his people. Amidst the shouts of the glory of God, a glorious future lost as well. Amidst shrieks of Kafir, an inquisitive soul has gone. Amidst the mayhem, a conviction to better the society was crushed. In the darkness, at noon a supernova was turned into shadows. How is land that which crushes the sons who risk their comfort to better it? Iqbal kaka served culture and literature all his life and molded Mashal in his matrix to dream big for his people and his land. His mother survived all poverty, so, that her son can one day make them proud. And that's what the thinking of the society did to him. I want to hug Iqbal kaka and thank him for his vision and for giving us, Mashal Khan. Iqbal kaka, you raised a fine gentleman, but perhaps he was too ahead of the times his people are living in.
The writer is the Ph.D. student at Multimedia Communications System Lab, University of Ulsan, Korea.
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