In the face of an international outcry over a blasphemy case involving a 14-year-old Christian girl, Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Thursday constituted an investigation committee, headed by SSP Tahir Alam, to look into the case following a high level meeting.
SSP Alam has been ordered to report headway in the Rimsha Masih case on a daily basis to the judicial magistrate. Meanwhile, the chief commissioner has been ordered to ensure cooperation with the ulema during investigations.
Rimsha, allegedly framed for blasphemy by a local cleric, has been in police custody since her August 16 arrest from a poor neighbourhood of Mehrabadi, on the outskirts of Islamabad. Rimsha was accused of burning papers containing verses from the Holy Quran in breach of strict blasphemy laws carrying the death penalty.
Recently, the police booked Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti, the imam of the mosque in Rimsha’s area, who first submitted the burnt papers as evidence against her, after his deputy Hafiz Zubair told the police that he had fabricated the evidence.
In a dramatic turn of events, Zubair’s confession against Chishti encouraged two more witnesses Hafiz Owais and Khurram Shahzad to record statements implicating Chishti in a plot orchestrated to strengthen the case against Rimsha.
Meanwhile, Adviser to Prime Minister on National Harmony, Paul Bhatti, has also been pressing for the security of Rimsha and hundreds of Christian families who had moved from the area fearing a backlash from the locals.
National security document
In the wake of recent terror threats, the interior minister constituted a team headed by chief commissioner Islamabad, to draft a national security document aimed to deal with the growing security challenges in the country.
The team comprises deputy secretary ministry of interior, officers from the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) and the National Police Bureau (NPB), while the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) DG is expected to serve as its secretary.
Malik directed the team to consult security experts from other countries and review their security policies.
In Thursday’s meeting, Malik also directed inspector general of the capital police to beef up security for Chinese nationals working in Islamabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2012.