ISLAMABAD: Amid reports of many Christian families fleeing the town near the federal capital in fear of a backlash, President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday sought a detailed report on the arrest of an 11-year-old Christian girl on blasphemy charges.
Rifta Masih – who suffers from Down’s Syndrome – was jailed by the police in Meharabadi village, near Islamabad, on Saturday after being severely beaten up by locals, for allegedly burning 10 pages of the Noorani Qaida.
After the issue was highlighted in the media, Islamabad police registered a case against the imam of the local mosque of Meharabad area near G-11 sector for instigating locals to set the minor girl on fire.
“Investigation is under way and the authenticity of the incident, age of the girl and her motive are yet to be determined,” said the station house officer (SHO) of the Qasim Niazi police station. Instead of trying to contain the situation and allaying tensions in the area through deployment of police, the SHO simply asked the Christian community of the area to run for their lives.
The official revealed that a new FIR has been registered against the cleric and 175 others who he claimed have approached the police with a demand to hand over the Christian girl so she could be set on fire publicly at the main chowk of the area.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Harmony Dr Paul Bhatti told The Express Tribune that Rifta would be medically examined. Bhatti said that he has also taken up the issue with religious scholars of different sects, who, after Eidul Fitr, will determine whether Rifta’s act was deliberate or unintentional, since she is only a child.
A cleric, who talked on phone on the condition of anonymity, gave The Express Tribune his version of the incident. According to him, he was teaching Quran to students in the mosque when he heard noises of neighbours beating someone. When he approached the scene, he was told that the girl, who he himself admitted was a minor, had taken away a copy of the holy book from a neighbour’s house and set it on fire.
The cleric vowed to defend “Islam in this world and the next” and claimed that after witnessing the incident he, along with some other locals, approached the police for registration of a case against the girl.
He said when the police remained reluctant to register the case, locals were forced to stage a protest. While the cleric claimed that it was he who approached the police for legal action, the police said that they saved the girl and her family through a timely intervention or the mob led by this cleric would have burnt the girl alive.
SHO Niazi said that if a timely operation was not conducted, locals could have burnt the Christians of the area. Others said that instead of denying the allegations, the Christian population fled the area. Abdur Rehman, 24, who also lives in the area, said that he wanted to kill the girl but police escorted her along with the family.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Human Rights Cell has expressed concern over the detention of the juvenile Christian girl. The Human Rights Cell proposed that in any such event, law must allow leadership of religious communities and district administration to jointly probe the matter before the registration of a complaint and arrest.
According to the Centre for Law and Justice, at least 200 to 300 Christian families from Meharabadi Jaffar, Sector G-12, Islamabad, have fled after Rifta was accused of blasphemy.
The organisation said that the government has failed to provide security to these Christian families who fled their houses after clerics pledged to attack Christians and evict them from the neighbourhood.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2012.
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Both communities should learn to live together and respect each others' beliefs. Un necessary and un justified use of loud speakers by mosques should be banned and so playing loud music by churches and temples at the time of the call for prayers be banned.
@Asok: Untouchables and Muslims in Hindustan are human beings and Hindustanis.
@Vikram: Untouchables and Muslims are killed as a routine matter in Hindustan.
@BruteForce: Untouchables please note BruteForces advice.
@Umar: It is the climate that Pakistani rulers have created by showing two fingers to the Supreme court of Pakistan. It has given the criminals the idea that they can get away with anything like the rulers are getting away with murder. These rulers in turn have the blessings of the Western rulers.
@Faraz: I have not heard about burning the poor girl.
@Dr Reddy: Very good suggestion but Dr Reddy where will you send Untouchables whose even shadow religiously pollutes Hindus? And if an untouchable drinks from your well you murder him/her. You would have done better if you had spoken for justice for the Christian minor rather than fish in troubled waters. A Punjabi proverb for you: Sweep under your own bed first.
Police are no medical experts.
@ali mustafa: Ali mustafa let the justice take its course and wait for the result.
Faraz all you have to do is look around and you will find such shameful incidents in every country.
Winky If you are not American then you are a European. You should not have any problem to understand this wanton accusations and violence. If Norwegian killer, the American killers and the English killers don't make all Norwegians, Americans and the English, killers then why all Muslims deserve to be blamed as anti non Muslims?
@ Jihad Bil-Qalam you clearly did not follow all the things in my post. Where has Imran khan said that the US is pulling out the shia killings?? He didn't say anything like that in the Jalsa of chichawatni?? I told you he even condemned Lashkare Jhangvi openly for the Shia killings and demanded stern action against them (http://tribune.com.pk/story/401434/stop-targeting-hazaras-imran/) and there were then counter threats to him (http://criticalppp.com/archives/82066).
In the interview with Lucman he starts by saying that this sectarian violence is "planned" but he doesn't say that the radicals are not involved or that the US is doing it. He does however say that its because of the war on terror that we are not able to control sectarian violence and tht some people are taking advantage of this war; which is completely different from saying that the US is doing the sectarian violence herself.
Also what abt the other video i posted where he says talks abt shia killings and hindu killings and goes on to say that this has nothing to do with Islam and the govt is not able to provide the poor people with security.
And where do u get the impression that the radicals support him (see some of them talking abt him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFOWFCMNd8o , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGb8qzngv8Q) Haven't u read wat the TTP said abt him recently? I found i video where they have compiled different videos of IK's statements against the radicals, the beheadings and schoold burning*:*
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_Q0iLVOY2s = in this there is also a video where he again openly condemns the radicals which attacked AHMADIS and shias.
@Abdur Rahman: I carefully watched your You tube postings. Imran Khan is saying that Shia killings are bad but they are being pulled by the U.S. This is clearly wrong. The Shia killings are engineered by radical Islamists who support Imran Khan, and Imran Khan does not blame them and rather malign the U. S. You cannot fool all the people all the time.
Wow why can't the government monitor mosques for flammable content? They do it all the time (or make a best effort attempt to do so, since having cent percent coverage is rather impossible) in Saudi, in Egypt, in Indonesia, in libya and even in Bangladesh...But lo and behold...pakistan seems to be cut from a different league altogether...
And the silent majority is too apathetic to even bother dousing the fire...looks like theyve given up hope already...which is too bad...
@ jIHAD BIL-qALAM this is my second post in response to ur previous statement. There are 2 very imp videos which i would like to share. Firstly i found the interview where Imran khan spoke against killings of Hindus in Urdu on tv :
Also here's a video where the minority leaders from Christian, Hindu and other religions of Pakistan met and praised Imran Khan and then he adresses them (May 12 2012). Why would Imran khan hold such a minority convention if he wanted to please the radicals??? Now has any other leader of PAK condemned such attacks against Shias, hindus or christians as Imran has done? Has any other politician condemned Mumtaz Qadri other than Imran khan?? Are they trying to please the radicals??
@Jihad Bil-Qalam yeah he openly condemns the drone attacks in the "interviews," right?? so does he openly condemn the Taliban activities in urdu on tv in those very interviews. He has been condemning attacks on schools and the be-headings openly and in urdu, and the videos are available on youtube. And there are videos on youtube where u can find some Mullahs talking against him, especially chek out the reaction videos to his statements against Mumtaz Qadri.
But coming to this issue; lets see some of his upcoming interviews maybe he talks abt this in them. But you are misinformed on the issue of shias. He has been condeming violence against them openly in jalsas and interviews (example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAXj36bfLXU ) PTI even conducted protests against this. Imran khan even visited a shia community in Quetta in April 2012 to offer his condolences. In june when he called attacks against Shia as barbaric and called for a ban on Lashkar-e-jhangvi, there were counter threats by a lashkare jhangvi personell to him. Just yesterday in two pre-recorded interviews he openly condemned the brutality against them. Chek out this one:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYawqnId-VY (at 10:15 )
@Abdur Rahman: If Imran Khan truly wanted to condemn the atrocity against the Christians, he would have made a strong statement appearing on the TV using Urdu language, just like the way he condemns drone attacks day in and day out. However, he knows that openly condemning these brutalities against Christians, Shias, and Hindus will undermine his support among the Islamist radicals.
A completely dispicable act. My heart goes out to the christian girl, her family and her community. May Allah grant them patience and a peaceful life, and may the ignorant mentality of the Pakistani mullahs be corrected by Him. The so-called pious defenders of Islam preach Quran and Sunnat but don't follow them themselves. A woman used to throw garbage on the Holy Prophet(pbuh) everyday when he was on his way, but when one day she didn't he went to check if she was okay. That is the teaching of Islam, patience (sabr) and controlling ones anger, NOT killing anyone who raises their voice against you just because your feelings were hurt.
@Jihad Bil-Qalam What are you saying? Its the job of the media to bring into news whatever statements a leader gives.
Imran Khan's statement is all over the International news papers, its in the Telegraph, the observer, the Indian NDTV, CNN.com etc..but I couldn't find the Pakistani news papers reporting it. Similarly the URDU news papers can translate statements and make them news (just like other Asian news papers have!!). Similarly the URDU news channels are bound to report any condemnation in URDU (just like they keep reporting every other statement by IK). Also it is when the journalists questions you on something that you go on to make a statement on TV OR you can do a press conference...
IK made similar statements in the past (in English first) about Mumtaz Qadri, bt they were widely reported in Pak news papers, and the Mullahs got to knw abt that too, even though the original statement was in English. So it all depends on how the media reports.
It is sad to find that an imam is actively involved in torturing a girl who herself didn't know what she was doing.Even he requested police to hand over the girl to a mob who could set her on fire.I don't how this barbaric man could be an imam of mosque. He should be immediately thrown from the post.Such is the condition of Pakistan where living in peace is unbearable for minority.
@MIR ALI: The public have destroyed the fabric. Zia was only an instrument. There were huge anti-ahmedi riots in the 50s to remove Zafarullah Khan as foreign minister, there were riots again in 1972-73 when ZA Bhutto was forced to declare Ahmedis non muslim. So it was all done on public demand. Large majority of public seems to support this atmosphere, the minority fringe is you folks who comment here. The majority are people who contribute to buy guns for mujahids on fridays, who participate in difa-e-pak processions, who bay for blood of blasphemers, who shower petals on murderers of governers. So poor zia did only what his public wanted him to do. If it were otherwise, some of these laws would have been repealed
Thanks saudia Arabia for these barbaric laws, & wahhabism version of islam in pakistan introduced by ZIA. imran khan should repel these laws and make pakistan a secular state.
It was wellknown from the day of inception of pakistan . Sad thing is that some leaders couldn't see future at that time
"The cleric vowed to defend “Islam in this world and the next.”
Perhaps the cleric can be sent to the next world sooner rather than later!
@Sultan Ahmed: "In case the crime deliberately committed then she deserve to punishment."
In fact, after a comment like this it may be YOU that needs the help!
Whether the CHILD has a mental disability OR NOT, she is 11 years of age and unable to form the required mental intention to commit an offence.
Fire of intolerance and hatred would result in whole country going into the flames.
Welcome to Islamistan
People running away merely out of fear?!
What on earth is happening to good Pakistani people? First, PPP bans SMS services like Indians did, just when I was amusing myself with the news of expected Indian cowardice and irrationality. Now, Pakistanis are leaving home and hearth merely on account of 'fear' just as Indians did.
This is the major problem in Pakistan - just far too much Hindu blood to abandon local nonsense.
Why taking a seious note only when the person in question is a christian..I thought serious notes should be taken every time a human being is subjected to injustce regardless of religion/race/color. And furthermore, my dear America is killing scores of innocent people in the name of colletaral damage every second day in Pakistan, has any note been taken on the issue. Quit making headlines just because some one in Christian....
@Abdur Rahman: Did Imran Khan "say" anything in Urdu that the 180 million Pakistan could watch and hear on the TV? You may be surprised to know that a dominant majority of Pakistanis does not follow twitter and facebook? Essentially Imran Khan has not said anything about this important episode.
The price of land in Sector G 12 is very very high. Some people say that panic was created so that the Christian family should run away and vacate that place for Builders. The easiest way was to scare them in the name of religion. Blasphemy was invoked. Curse on Ziaul Haq the illiterate soldier who introduced such harsh laws just to retain power.
If Government can't maintain its writ in Islamabad then where else can it have its writ?
@Sadia Mahmood: "@ ET The child is only referred as a Christian girl in your reporting. What does that mean? Is she not a human and a Pakistani?"
Yes. There is a reason she is referred to as a Christian child. She was targetted because she is a Christian. Not only that, other Christian families are also being targetted by this imam and gang for the same reason. Thus this incidence denotes bigotry and is not just the case of aone random evil man performing an evil act. Rather, it is the act of a man who uses his religious power to influence people to torment someone of a different faith.
cleric and 175 others ...... have approached the police with a demand to hand over the Christian girl so she could be set on fire publicly at the main chowk of the area.
Pakistan is land of pure. Islam is fastest growing "true religion". Pakistani Muslims should invite "converts to Islam" to see Islam in action.
Quiet possible Muslims want that land where Christians live. Some one who knew girl was mentally retarded, gave her some papers and asked her to burn them.
There are few different versions of the story going on. One is girl worked for some one who gave her some pages (not from Quran) as radi. Now Muslims are talking she stole Quran and burned it.
Pakis are treating Christians as dirt and Christians majority countries are giving billions of dollars of Zakat every year.
It's not just the girl who has down syndrome. It's the nation who is affected by it It's sickening to see the name of Islam being exploited by the mafia.
Islamic law states that those of unsound mind cannot be held resposible for there actions, i don't know who is of unstable mind in this case the 11 year old girl who has learning difficultys, the so called 'imam' who is supposed to know the islamic law, or the so called muslims who were baying like the Ku Klux klan. Allah please help us
The US should take out some of these seminaries and their leaders with their drone attacks.
The very thought of a Hindu lineage is so probably so distasteful that Muslims in the sub-continent feel a need to prove their Islamic identity at every opportunity. The poor girl has fallen victim to this mentality.
@Kabir: Dear Kabir, I think no one should say anything negative about the religion of someone else, that is a pure question of respect! But which human has the right to take action himself based on s.th. like blasphemy? Shouldn't we all just be judged by Allah himself? We humans tend to think we are intelligent, but too often we act out of emotions, hate and anger. I understand that in these times Muslims feel like they have to defend themselves. I also don't like most things that are going on. But to proscute someone for an opinion is purely medieval! Even if it is a mentally healthy and adult person! In this sense the enlightenment is still a long way to go for this society! A true Muslim is a peaceful person seeking peace!!!
So you mean since Hitler was a chirstian, that is why he ordered killing of Jews? or when some phsycopath righwingers justified the killing of muslims in gujrat riots, they did so because they were Hindu's?
Brother you cant attribute evil acts of humans to a religion. Its sad though how we start profiling people.. I hear about some violent acts done by Christians and Muslims both, in some african countries.. It would be a shame if i start demonzing Chirstianity and Islam for the acts of some
An 11 yr old girl with Down's syndrome (reduced mental faculties) goes into a neighbour's house (did she break in or was she let in?), manages to locate, identify and steal a copy of the Koran (it would take a competent adult some time to do this assuming it is beng done without the owner of the said house knowing about it, and this girl does it quickly by herself!), brings it out without alerting said neighbours (else they would have stopped her), and then manages to set-it on fire!!! And no one questions whether this incident really did happen or is she and/or her family / community being framed? Apparently, the community has vacated their residences out of fear - leaving it open for land-grabbers. And your 'President' has 'taken notice of this incident'!
This is the same mentality that accepts as genuine the 'sudden romance, elopement and change of religion' by teenage minority girls, who elsewhere would be considered as minors.
As pakistan races backwards to the middle ages...
@unbeleiver, I haven't heard of the lucknow riots where they destroyed buddhist idols. where is the link? I can provide info in Deganga riots in 2010 (Google an read its blogspot) where similar thing happenned. Dr. Reddy garu, Especially you have to read about those riots.
Just pick a majority-Chiristian country's embassy and seek asylum there. Thats the simplest way to escape this persecution.
There are many many such countries: Italy, France, Germany, Australia, Canada. The list is long. I am sure they will accept you as India is accepting the Hindu refugees.
Good luck. You guys really need it.
I'm curious... How the imams and clerics handle the pages which get torn accident off religious books, or extremely old copies of books if they have become worn out, or eaten by termites? Or the news papers with Quranic verses written on them? Please enlighten me!
@Dr Reddy: Sorry. DIsagree with your thought process. Indian Muslims ARE Indians and have every right to India's resources just like Indians of any other faith. But when it comes to Shias, Ahmedis from Pakistan - well I have sympathy for their fate but these people did not hold back from oppressing Hindus in Pakistan. It is only now that that there are hardly any Hindus left to oppress that they are the new victims. They need to stay in their own country which they voted for on the basis of their religion and solve their problems. India is not open to them.
Our country has become a home of blood thirsty hounds. And their thirst will not be satisfied. Allah will not forgive those who misuse the religion and have no mercy.
@ Harris Chaudhry Here is what IK has said and what PTI has been posting on FB, twitter etc. since morning:
Imran Khan's statement:
mr. reddy thank you for your advice. but, you seem to be very short-sighted.
in the recent mayhem in lucknow(yes lucknow, not mumbai, but you don't know because it was not televised by mainstream media), it were all muslims, from all denominations, shias and sunnis breaking anything lying in their way from BUDDHA'S statue to AMAR JAWAN JYOTI.
so, down with your liberal ranting, because the moment they see a sea of hindus, they reduce themselves to just muslims and not sects, and go on doing idiotic things..... no ahmadiya, no shia....hindus are welcome.......because of the simple reason that they do not have any other country to migrate.....
If the girl is really mentally ill, than she is not responsible for her actions. Otherwise, she should be punished for blasphemy. But punishment according to the law, not stoned to death by a mob.
For all those "liberals" against the blasphemy laws: Pakistan is a Muslim country and was created on the basis of Islam. Why should we allow blasphemy against Allah and his Prophet?
Pakistan as jinnah had dreamed, what a peace loving country..!!
thousand of Muslims are back lashed by govt. and agencies and they don't flee.don't make lame excuses
Just amazed by number of people emphasizing that its wrong to kill the girl as she is minor or / and has a down syndrome. Really!!!!
So it would have been absolutely ok to kill her for burning few pages of a book(taught in grade 3) if she was an adult and of sound mind.
Bravo!!!! Fellow Humans!!! Bravo..
Pakistani muslims ,please come to Mauritius in order to learn how muslim minority is treated here where we have Hindu majority. We are people of Africans Chinese Indian and European descent here. plaese come and learn
@Sadia Mahmood: In all fairness, the topic is based on religious motives. It's not an isolated concept. It's Muslims in that area going after Christians. "People" going after "a human girl" is ambiguous and poor writing. They're right to word it the way they did.
@ET Why to use the word "backlash"?
The word attempts to justify the violence as a natural and legitimate response by the majority community to protest the incident (burning the holy book), which really happened or not is still under doubt.
So the fire has reached islamabad and will engulf everything soon.
In fact, police had made a mistake by registering case against local religious leader. In the preliminary stage there must be fair investigation. Police by registering case against other people came to police with complaint.fueled unrest. Now it is essential be transferred the Station House Officer a team consisting on local notables for investigation the allegation against local minor girl who is mentally unfit as reported by the media.
The girl arrested needs medical examination. In case the crime deliberately committed then she deserve to punishment. If she proved imbalanced minded figure then be released forthwith because imbalanced minded person are not responsible for her/his acts.
A "Learned" cleric vs a minor girl with Down's syndrome. Who do you think actually requires psychiatric help?
Why we do not hear any othre case like this in any othre muslim country.? there is urgent need to normalise these ultra muslim ROBOTS.please help them to become normal human.
@ Ahmed. You get Imams you deserve.
@ ET The child is only referred as a Christian girl in your reporting. What does that mean? Is she not a human and a Pakistani?
@Ahmed: he is muslim, that is why is is speaking like this. we don't trust your sympathized comments, these are just showups.
All the screaming and protests on the burma issue but not a single peep out of the faithful over the beating up and jailing of a mentally challenged child.Such disgusting hypocrisy from our public.Is a crime only a crime when the victim is a Muslim?
Killing of mentally disabled children on the eve of the day when the Quran was bestowed upon us. No wonder our country is going to crap. Then we have the audacity to pray to Allah for the success of this nation. Qaid-e-Azam would be proud
Insanity at its worst....May Allah forgive us for sins of these insane , illiterate mullahs & bigots...!
Not surprising in a country where Mumtaz Qadri is a national hero
shameful incident.....Must be dealt in the realms of law, Minorities must be protected against indiscriminate persecution..
What a religion.
i dont blame this imam only, Pakistani mindset supported such kinda religious extremists for fighting a war in afghanistan
Burning mentally ill children alive? This imam is a heretic. He is no muslim he preaches evil.