The city police on Monday recorded statements of two more witnesses against a cleric for fabricating a blasphemy case against a minor girl and instigating a mob to kill her. The testimony of a witness against Khalid Jadoon Chishti, who was accused of blasphemy, has prompted two others to come forward.
The Ramna Police Station has recorded the statements of Hafiz Owais and Khurram Shahzad, who endorsed Hafiz Zubair’s statement against Chishti.
Zubair told the police that Chishti had deliberately stuffed pages from the Quran in a bag containing burnt pages from the Noorani Qaida brought to him by a young man who claimed that Rimsha, a Christian, had burnt the religious textbook.
Investigation Officer (IO) Munir Jafferi while talking to The Express Tribune confirmed the latest development.
“Two more people have recorded statements against Chishti in support of Zubair’s testimony. Chishti could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of desecrating the holy book,” Jafferi added.
Police arrested Chishti on September 1, after a member of the cleric’s mosque accused him of stuffing pages from the holy book in the bag to make it seem like Rimsha had burned pages containing verses from the scripture and make the case for blasphemy against her.
Court had sent him on 14-days judicial remand after police booked him under section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code.
He would be produced before the court on September 14.
Meanwhile, Rimsha’s case has been adjourned till September 7 due to lawyers’ strike.
During the hearing Justice Muhammad Azam Khan adjourned the case till next week. The girl is said to be suffering from Down’s Syndrome.
The girl, Rimsha, was arrested on August 16 for allegedly burning a Noorani Qaida, a primer used to familiarise children with Arabic as written in the Quran. Her case has prompted concern from rights campaigners, who say the legislation is often abused to settle personal vendettas.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2012.