ISLAMBAD: As the country remains torn over minority persecution in the name of blasphemy, Islamic groups including a Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) leader and the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat, in an unprecedented and surprising move, came out on Monday and publicly denunciated the arrest of a young girl for allegedly burning a Noorani Quaida, reports guardian.co.uk.
The All Pakistan Ulema Council (APUC) and Pakistan Interfaith League, which comprises minority religions in the country, were also among those who came out in support of Rimsha, demanding punishment for those who had made these false accusations.
Tahir Ashrafi, chairman of the the APUC and part of the DPC leadership, condemned the demands of mobs who pressurise police regularly for registering blasphemy charges, adding that this was pushing law and order in Pakistan towards the “law of the jungle”.
“We see Rimsha as a test case for Pakistan’s Muslims, Pakistan’s minorities and for the government,” Ashrafi said. “We don’t want to see injustice done with anyone. We will work to end this climate of fear.”
While Rimsha is held in a maximum security prison which, according to her counsel, is deeply traumatic for her, the report of a medical examination for attesting her mental condition and age is expected to be presented in court today (Tuesday). The report may shed light on and pave the way for the verdict in the girl’s case.
“This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that the Muslim community and scholars have stood up for non-Muslims,” said Sajid Ishaq, chairman of the Pakistan Interfaith League. “We are together, demanding justice, demanding an unbiased investigation. And those abusing this law should be taken care of.”
Rimsha is believed to be between 11 to 16 years of age and reportedly has Down ’s Syndrome.
Following the reaction that Rimsha’s community of 300 Christian families faced, they have decided not to ever go back and are living elsewhere.
“We’ll never go back. We have young children. How can we go back? They won’t even let us say our prayers there,” said Zahid Pervez, a member of the same community. ”We will sit on the roads, for however long it takes, until we are given somewhere else to live.”
Correction: The previous headline of this article had stated that the arrest was condemned by the DPC. The statement was given by a leader of the DPC.