Mashal Khan’s father to deliver annual Bacha Khan lecture at University of London

LONDON: Mr Mohammad Iqbal, father of Mashal Khan, will deliver the 2018 Bacha Khan lecture at the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London, on January 20.

The SOAS confirmed that Bloomsbury Pakistan, a non-profit organisation of academics working on Pakistan, has invited Mashal Khan’s father for the annual lecture in memory of his son, who was killed by a mob at Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan on April 13, 2017. The lecture is organised with the support of Mr Ziauddin Yousafzai, SOAS and UCL.

Dr Mukulika Banerjee, Director of South Asia Centre of London School of Economics (LSE), will chair the lecture.

The annual Bacha Khan lecture has become an important date of the calendar, delivered by influential Pakistanis of progressive background to promote the message of peace and harmony.

After his son was killed by a mob in the university, Mr Mohammad Iqbal faced this tragedy bravely and has emerged as a statesman from the very first day of the incident. He rose above his personal suffering and transformed it into a movement to highlight the broader and deeper social, cultural and political maladies engulfing Pakistan, which were responsible for the tragic death of his son. He has been addressing the root cause of extremism, advocating that extremism can only be rooted out when its root causes are addressed.

Nadir Cheema, a senior research fellow, said in a statement that Iqbal is a ray of hope for Pakistan, whose wisdom has shown that visionary leadership exists in small towns and villages of the country who would ultimately steer the society out of reactionary downward spiral. “It is thus with great pleasure and honour that Bloomsbury Pakistan has invited Mr Mohammad Iqbal to deliver the 2018 Annual Bacha Khan Lecture.”

Ziauddin Yousufzai said that Iqbal represents the best of Pakistan. He lost his son but he has remained remarkably calm and composed and he has not let a very personal tragedy influence his views about the society he lives in, Yousufzai said.

“He has emerged as hero, who is not motivated by revenge. He is the hero who wants betterment for everyone, who doesn’t want anyone else’s child to be killed in the same manner that his son was taken away from him.”

Yousufzai said that Mashal Khan was lynched by a mob in the cruelest of manners, but Iqbal has attempted to forget his personal tragedy and think about the society at large.

“His view, that intolerance sweeping Pakistan needs to be checked and efforts made to enable the people to live in peace and harmony with each other, is shared by millions of Pakistanis who want to see Pakistan as a tolerant and pluralist country.”


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