Rimsha being favoured: Accuser's lawyer

Published: August 30, 2012

Rao Abdur Raheem, (C), the lawyer for the accuser of the Christian girl charged with blasphemy for allegedly burning papers of Quranic verses, talks with media outside the court in Islamabad on August 30, 2012. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: A court adjourned on Thursday a bail hearing for a Christian girl accused of blasphemy, prompting human rights activists to make fresh calls for her release in a case that has drawn renewed criticism of the country’s anti-blasphemy laws.

The girl, named Rimsha, has been held since August 16 on suspicion of desecrating the Muslim holy book, an offence that can carry a life prison sentence under Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws.

Doctors and officials are “favouring” a young Pakistani Christian girl charged with blasphemy after allegedly burning papers containing Qurani verses, the lawyer for her accuser claimed today.

A medical report earlier this week said Rimsha was around 14 years old – her age had been in dispute – and appeared to be “uneducated” with a mental age below her true age.

But after a brief hearing in the case on Thursday, which Rimsha did not attend, Rao Abdur Raheem, the lawyer representing her accuser, rejected the doctors’ assessment.

“The victim has admitted that she burned a chapter of the Holy Quran,” he told reporters outside court in Islamabad.

“The doctors are favouring the victim and the state is also supporting her.”

Raheem also objected to the medical examination because it was carried out a day before the court formally requested it. Judge Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan adjourned the case to Saturday to seek clarification on the report.

The lawyer said he did not want to see Masih’s case turned into another one focusing on changing the law, and he warned that to do so could again incite a violent reaction.

“There are many Mumtaz Qadris in this country and we will support them,” the lawyer said, referring to Governor Salmaan Taseer’s killer.

Activists demand release

Religious and secular groups worldwide have protested over the arrest this month of Rimsha Masih, accused by Muslim neighbours of burning Islamic religious texts.

“This will go on and on and this little minor girl will rot in jail,” said human rights activist Tahira Abdullah outside an Islamabad court. “We want her out of jail. We want her under protection.”

Rimsha’s case has prompted concern from Western governments and the Vatican and anger from human rights campaigners, who have warned the laws are often used to settle personal vendettas.

In July a mob of more than 2,000 snatched a mentally unstable man from a police station, beat him to death and torched his body after he was accused of burning pages from the Holy Quran.

Reader Comments (52)

  • Zabandraz
    Aug 30, 2012 - 12:34PM

    Come on let the poor miserable girl go !!!!!

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  • Aug 30, 2012 - 1:01PM

    I don’t get lawyers. Why do you have to prove yourself to be an idiot?

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  • GhostRider
    Aug 30, 2012 - 1:38PM

    Pity…lawyers have become the police

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  • naeem hussain
    Aug 30, 2012 - 1:51PM

    Children at Budgram airport and at Guantonomobay prison accused for terrorism are also minors why human rights organizations do not raise their voice for them? The answer is simple, they are Muslims.

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  • Fatima
    Aug 30, 2012 - 1:52PM

    Who the heck is this joker? Where did he study law?

    “The victim has admitted that she burned a chapter of the Holy Quran,”

    This information is currently being disputed and is therefore SUBJUDICE. You can’t discuss sensitive facts of a case with the press if they’re still DISPUTED in COURT. If this joker were anywhere else in the world he’d have his licence revoked.

    “The lawyer said he did not want to see Masih’s case turned into another one focusing on changing the law, and he warned that to do so could again incite a violent reaction.”

    So which Bar Council are you trying to get voted into? Because you sound like a politician’s thug, not a lawyer to me.

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  • ComfortablyNumb
    Aug 30, 2012 - 1:54PM

    @postman -simple answer, lawyers too want their fifteen minutes of fame and wah wah.

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  • Man at the gate
    Aug 30, 2012 - 2:36PM

    He’s in no way a lawyer, he is an idiot as far as this lawyer’s opinion allows.

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  • obaid
    Aug 30, 2012 - 2:43PM

    There are many Mumtaz Qadris in this country and we will support them

    So a lawyer who openly advocates murder on suspicion of blasphemy is allowed to contest the case. I simply can’t comprehend this absurdity. Mr CJP how can you stand by let these jingoists interpret law as they see fit.

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  • THE
    Aug 30, 2012 - 3:07PM

    These lawyers are idiots, now they are going to decide who lives and who dies in this country. People should come out in support of this girl….

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  • Parvez
    Aug 30, 2012 - 3:10PM

    Intimidation is a weapon and the opposite side must resist and uphold what is right.

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  • Mansoor
    Aug 30, 2012 - 3:23PM

    @naeem hussain: What a pathetic argument it is! First, please correct you information: so many organisations have raised voice against for keeping underage children. Secondly, even if they did not, what difference does it make? Wrong is wrong.

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  • Jintoo
    Aug 30, 2012 - 3:44PM

    “There are many Mumtaz Qadris in this country and we will support them,” the lawyer said
    Well said, then i think majority of Pakistani people support the murderers of their own children and relatives like happening in Karachi and other parts of the country.
    If this is so WE support the Mumtaz Qadris of the western world who are helpful to eliminate the fanatic mullahs.
    Second thing I wanted to mention is why Muslim brothers in Pakistan cry for Burmese Muslims in Rohingya? They are right and they can do this but why don’t they raise their voice against Chinese government who has strict policy against Chinese Muslims in Southwest provinces of China. They are not allowed to observe their fasts there, strict in terms of religious festivals and when need arises government would smash them even. So why is this hypocrisy?? Pakistani Muslims should protest for Chinese Muslims as well and exert other countries look into this issue and not only Burma. I guess they don’t have the courage to do so because they can’t see it, stop worrying about Burma and if you really really worry for them protest for Chinese Muslims as well.

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  • Riz Khan
    Aug 30, 2012 - 3:47PM

    “There are many Mumtaz Qadris in this country and we will support them,” the lawyer said, referring to Governor Salmaan Taseer’s killer.

    These comments alone are enough to put the lawyer himself in jail in any sensible country with some law and order.

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  • Random
    Aug 30, 2012 - 3:48PM

    This lawyer should be booked for inciting and supporting Murder by eulogizing Mumtaz Qadri and his actions.

    We call ourselves custodians of Islam and the girl is accused of burning the Holy Quran. Here are some questions to think over

    1- The girl was a garbage sifter/ collector. What was the noorani Qaida doing in the garbage in the first place. if anyone is supposed to be charged with desecration it should be the person who threw the Noorani Qaida In the Garbage

    2- Desecration is based on intent. How in the world would it be desecration when the girl did not know what she was burning

    i really pray that sanity prevails and we stop abusing the poor and the marginalized in the name of Islam

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  • Asghar
    Aug 30, 2012 - 3:51PM

    What about us, we the Muslims!! Who are discriminating the Holy Book every minute by not following it and disobeying ALLAH. What punishment this so called Muslim lawyer will seek for himself?

    Islam is not about punishing or revenge only, it is more about forgiving, it’s more about humanity. Please STOP portraying this nonsense picture of Islam.

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  • Ammar
    Aug 30, 2012 - 3:52PM

    Such a pity! When the whole nation (if there is one) should have been shielding the poor kid and media should have been focusing some sane and sensitive people, our people have chosen criminal silence, and our media opted to project a lunatic. Such is the Sham!!!

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  • antony
    Aug 30, 2012 - 3:53PM

    IF I had been there in person hearing this lawyer blabber ,I would have changed his mind by opening the case which holds his mind ! .

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  • Tahir
    Aug 30, 2012 - 4:07PM

    Shame on such lawyers who openly support and justify Mumtaz qadri’s action. It shows how much we believe in rule of law. Mr lawyer is openly inciting hate and provoking people on violence. He should be prosecuted for his hate preaching.

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  • muslim_protestant
    Aug 30, 2012 - 4:14PM

    @naeem hussain:
    one wrong doesnt justify another. Let those repsonsible for illegaly confining kids in afghanistan be answerable for their crimes. As a Pakistani muslim its a shame that this poor girl is in jail.

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  • vasan
    Aug 30, 2012 - 4:15PM

    There are many Mumtaz Qadris in this country and we will support them,” the lawyer said, referring to Governor Salmaan Taseer’s killer.

    The reasons that Pakistan finds itself in this rat hole of violence and bigotry are very clear from this statement. Violent bigots are plenty in Pakistan supported by equally violent bigot black coats. Pity the pakistanis.

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  • Ozymandias
    Aug 30, 2012 - 4:25PM

    @Random:
    Very good points

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  • Tishna
    Aug 30, 2012 - 4:27PM

    Cheap trick by the lawyer to get easy fame… Religion, especially blasphemy, is the most easy gateway to the headlines in this country.Recommend

  • Naveed Javed
    Aug 30, 2012 - 4:29PM

    He speaks like Zia! Whoo-aaa

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  • Samina Tahir
    Aug 30, 2012 - 4:30PM

    Rimsha being favoured for wat? she is still in jaila and doctors have declared her age to be around 14. GROW UP u SO CALLED MUSLIMS… Let the girl live her life…Recommend

  • Jim
    Aug 30, 2012 - 4:33PM

    So this is the real face of Pakistan. And it wears a jacket and tie! Recommend

  • KT
    Aug 30, 2012 - 4:44PM

    The lawyer should be arrested for inciting murder and tried under the Anti Terrorism Act. It is for these type of people (and for Mumtaz Qadri) that Quran definitely specifies death penalty, those who propogate FITNA.

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  • Iyan
    Aug 30, 2012 - 5:09PM

    @Fatima:
    You cannot be serious. This is Pakistan. Attorneys tossed rose petals at Qadri and you are talking about Bar councils !

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  • Tariq Grinstead
    Aug 30, 2012 - 5:10PM

    I pity the family home and neighborhood such a character as this lawyer lives in!

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  • Danish
    Aug 30, 2012 - 5:40PM

    “There are many Mumtaz Qadris in this country and we will support them,” the lawyer said, referring to Governor Salmaan Taseer’s killer.- Great lawer sb… it seems that you havent studied humanity. Recommend

  • Calypso
    Aug 30, 2012 - 5:43PM

    Well the lawyer need to be assessed first. Does an 11 or say 14 year old truely understand the meaning of hatred? faith? blasphemy? Sick… Poor child!

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  • Logic Europe
    Aug 30, 2012 - 5:58PM

    it is easy to gang up against a girl who is non Muslim ,in fact being a minor she has no religion
    Biggest disgrace to name of Islam these pseudo Muslim , violent ,uncivilised. uneducated people? This is the reason whole world is suspicious of Pakistan

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  • Pro Bono Publico
    Aug 30, 2012 - 6:01PM

    @naeem hussain:
    THe situation with minorities is not to be proud of. But has any study been carried if this situation has any connection to the war on terror, the drones, and the atrocities? Any suggestion that Christians are victims because the foreign forces belong to the same faith?

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  • Azim Khan
    Aug 30, 2012 - 6:26PM

    This lawyer is also lawyer of Mumtaz Qadri, he formed lovers of Prophet organisation within lawyers of islamabad. His brother known activist of Sipha-e-sahaba. He filed application in court against Gay Party held in American embassy too..enough saidRecommend

  • kaalchakra
    Aug 30, 2012 - 7:10PM

    I hope the dignity of Islam is maintained and justice is done. There is nothing wrong in defending Muslims who raise their hand against blasphemers. This has been a venerable tradition in Pakistan-India region and great Muslim leaders have never shirked this basic religious obligation.

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  • qzj00
    Aug 30, 2012 - 7:27PM

    Who in his right mind will admit to burning a chapter of Holy Quran . . . . Doesn’t the girl’s statement proves beyond a shadow of doubt that she has no sense of what she has done?

    As for this lawyer , he clearly admitted that when he said “There are many Mumtaz Qadris in this country and we will support them”. Recommend

  • zahid imran
    Aug 30, 2012 - 7:52PM

    The majority seems to be against the application of blasphemy laws judging by the comments but this may be skewed sample. The media seemed to project extreme views and give peaple like Mr Abdur Raheem legitimacy. However the Bar Associations should worry that such people calling themselves lawyers are their members. The education system is flawed if the level of support for Mumtaz Qadri is so high. Who are going to be the next target? The doctors who tried to do their job? The descent into chaos is proceeding with the lightning speed. This is not an isolated incident but a systemic problem. Those trying to highlight atrocities of West forget that it was Jewish journalist, a hard core Republican appointee of Bush and members of US military who exposed the human rights violations. As one of the few that met with Pentagon on the issue of treatment of Guantanamo detainees, I never felt the threat to my life. Recently when a mosque caught fire in Joplin, Missouri, it was the local community that raised funds exceeding three times more than the budget for reconstruction of mosque. Allah SWT does not like injustice and Fisad fil Arz. Be kind and merciful if you truly believe in Islam. Recommend

  • s shah
    Aug 30, 2012 - 8:19PM

    I pray to Allah the Merciful that this child is set free. I dont understand why she is still held in jail if she is a minor. I pray that this black law that has brought such shame to Islam and Pakistan is repealed. Why has this lawyer’s licence who is openly inciting murder not been revoked. These mullahs and their apologists are such cowards. They will attack children and innocents of all religions and sects who cannot defend themselves.They do not have a shred of decency morality or humanity. @naeem hussain: One wrong does not justify another wrong perpetrated on an innocent. Shame on your thinking!

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  • Majaa
    Aug 30, 2012 - 8:39PM

    @Riz Khan: Khan sahib, YES in any sensible country, but very very UNFORTUNATELY, in Pakistan, Mullah rules and MULLAH is allergic to logic and all kind of senses

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  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Aug 30, 2012 - 8:53PM

    REPEAL THIS BLACK LAW !!

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  • Aug 30, 2012 - 9:29PM

    What pearls of wisdom do you truly expect from a man who’s fighting to have a 14-year old, mentally handicapped girl rot in jail for disrespecting a religion that projects itself as “a religion of peace”?

    Why do extremist views shock you?

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  • Asok
    Aug 31, 2012 - 3:47AM

    Repeal the blasphemy law.

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  • Hina
    Aug 31, 2012 - 4:56AM

    @Azim Khan:

    you are correct.
    He is some piece of work. I was wondering if he is a govt prosecutor or a private attorney?

    This is his profile: https://link texthttp://www.facebook.com/rao.abdurr...

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  • janamhussain
    Aug 31, 2012 - 3:04PM

    “There are many Mumtaz Qadris in this country and we will support them”

    is there no law against inciting hatred? surely this quack should be charged with it.

    what i wouldnt do for 15 minutes with this monkey lawyer

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  • Muslim
    Aug 31, 2012 - 5:05PM

    @Zabandraz:
    Asalam o alikum! Hope u r good. R u a muslim? I dnt think so
    If we let this girl go then tomorow another person wil burn Quran. And so on so forth. if u r a muslim u dnt have to compromise in ur religion!Recommend

  • gp65
    Sep 1, 2012 - 1:27AM

    @qzj00: “Who in his right mind will admit to burning a chapter of Holy Quran . . . . “

    Ah but she did not burn holy Quran. She bunt Noorani Qaida. BEcause that book had some Quranic verses in it, she is accused of burning Quranic verses.

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  • gp65
    Sep 1, 2012 - 1:31AM

    @kaalchakra: “I hope the dignity of Islam is maintained and justice is done. There is nothing wrong in defending Muslims who raise their hand against blasphemers. “

    SO you think that a 14 year old mentally challenged girl who burnt a copy of Noorani Qaida that she found in a trash can is a blasphemer? What do you think of the person who threw the Noorani Qaeda in the trashcan? What do you think about people like Mumtaz Qadri – do you think they are bringing glory to Islam? What do you think of the TTP people who beheaded Pakistani soldiers – do you think they are bringing glory to Islam?Please think before you spread yur hated.

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  • KT
    Sep 1, 2012 - 4:51AM

    @Muslim, as a Muslim you should know and believe that Allah has taken the responsibility of protecting the Quran and He will fulfill His promise. The Quran of Allah is not just a few printed pages bound together. It is the Message. By not following the Message we are disrespecting it enough, why are we all not booked for blasphemy. And historically, Quran was written many decades after Prophet Mohammed (pbuh). Before that if was only memorised, recited and practiced. These days it is printed, then wrapped in flowery covers and placed on the top of the highest closet in the house to be opened rarely because of the fear of disrespect, seldom read, never understood and practiced.

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  • M.Ahmer Ali
    Sep 1, 2012 - 10:05AM

    She must be released at least now because she is 11 years old mentally immature girl and she has been victimized of a conspiracy or misused against the muslims by the some wrongful hands.
    If you want to arrest the real culprits then why don’t you arrest Salman Rushdi and the US’ soldiers who intentionally blaspheme the Islam and Islamic sacred personalities openly?????

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  • James
    Sep 1, 2012 - 11:47AM

    News reports stated that the girl is illiterate.I wonder how she could have known that it was the Koran chapter or Noorani that she was burnt

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  • Dua
    Sep 2, 2012 - 9:19AM

    Allah is the only one that can judge! I can’t believe some of these comments.. For gods sake people she is only a child!! Pakistan is in a state of ” jahiliya “. She is in my prayers..Recommend

  • frmchi
    Sep 2, 2012 - 8:20PM

    @naeem hussain: Two wrongs don’t make it right

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  • Warren
    Sep 22, 2012 - 4:29PM

    I am heartened to see many sensible and sound comments from within Pakistan condemning a self-serving, unscrupulous lawyer. May God help him to see the error of his own ways, rather than seeking injustice, cruelty and personal gain.

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