Blasphemy case: Rimsha’s remand extended by 14 days

By AFP
Published: August 31, 2012
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Rimsha has been held since August 16 on suspic­ion of burning papers containing verses from the Quran. PHOTO: REUTERS

Rimsha has been held since August 16 on suspic­ion of burning papers containing verses from the Quran. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Police on Friday won permission to hold a young Christian girl accused of blasphemy in custody for a further 14 days while her case is investigated, officials said.

Rimsha was arrested in a poor suburb of Islamabad on August 16 after a neighbour accused her of burning papers containing verses from the Quran, in breach of Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws.

Her case has prompted concern from Western governments and anger from rights campaigners, who say the legislation is often abused to settle personal vendettas.

She arrived at court for the unannounced remand hearing in an armoured police van amid tight security, guarded by heavily-armed commandos and covered with a white sheet to conceal her face.

“She was produced in the court of a magistrate where we requested an extension of 14 days in her judicial remand,” Munir Jafri, a police officer investigating Rimsha’s case, told AFP.

“We wanted more time for further investigation and the court accepted our request.”

Another hearing is scheduled for Saturday to decide on a bail application and whether to accept a medical report that said Rimsha is 14 years old, which would mean her case would be treated under juvenile law, and has a mental age below her actual age.

Some reports have said she has Down’s Syndrome.

Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, one of Rimsha’s lawyers confirmed to AFP that Rimsha was produced on Friday and remanded for a further 14 days, while Shamaun Alfred Gill, a spokesman for All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) said Friday’s hearing was a “routine procedure”.

Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive subject in Pakistan, where 97 percent of the 180 million population are Muslims, and allegations of desecrating the Quran or insulting Islam often provoke public fury.

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Reader Comments (48)

  • Imran Ahsan Mirza
    Aug 31, 2012 - 10:26AM

    Pakistan is a failed state with no moral values left in its leadership. Government should have acted on day one rather prosecuting the little girl for such a lengthy period. There are 10 million Christians in Pakistan taking the message from this persecution that they should start fighting the majority or look for another country. I think some cannot afford the latter and may opt for the former.

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  • Hassaan
    Aug 31, 2012 - 10:30AM

    Absolute stupidity at its peak. Release rimsha RIGHT NOW.Recommend

  • jagirdara
    Aug 31, 2012 - 10:41AM

    Looks like our judges are also sufferring from down syndrome. 14 yr enducated girl seriously … threat to Islam? Are we as a nation suffering from all the mental sicknessses. Beating an uneducated girl can only be work of people influenced by shaitaan.Recommend

  • Jibran
    Aug 31, 2012 - 10:44AM

    Can CJ take notice of this once he gets sometime. Currently, he is preoccupied with his and his family’s business interests.

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  • amalgam
    Aug 31, 2012 - 10:52AM

    Please guys let her live , she is a just a child .Don’t be so cruel to that child just because she is a non muslim pakistani :(

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  • Sofia
    Aug 31, 2012 - 11:05AM

    shame, shame, shame

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  • gp65
    Aug 31, 2012 - 11:10AM

    No one seems to question who put the Noorani Qaida in the trash can where she found it. Also it is not as though she desecrated the Quran. Tomorrow if a rediwala packs pakodas in a newspaper where maybe some Quranic verses are mentioned , will he be held guilty of blasphemy? In other words, a child playing with a book in trash – how does this action constitute blasphemy. She has now been in prison for 14 days in a case which appears to be untenable prima facie.

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  • Saif Khan
    Aug 31, 2012 - 11:29AM

    Noorani Qaida is not Quran. Then why a case is filed against her? Noorani Qiada is a text book for pronunciation of Arabic Language.

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  • Tishna
    Aug 31, 2012 - 11:37AM

    It seems that our respected judiciary has lost it legal senses. A minor child with no education who is also not mentally fit is accused of blasphemy and sent on JUDICIAL REMAND??? What do they want to prove???

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  • antony
    Aug 31, 2012 - 12:01PM

    “the investigating officer informed the court that the investigation had not been completed and asked for more time” … I am telling you pakistanis ,Muslims are not really thinking like humans and your religion has blinded normal humans beings from thinking like human beings with sympathy to fellow human beings.. Hence other religious people cannot treat you like normal human beings and only as muslims..

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  • nadeem khan
    Aug 31, 2012 - 12:02PM

    my heart cries for that young girl…

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  • Zalam Singh
    Aug 31, 2012 - 12:06PM

    The little girl being brought to the courts, covered in white, that scene just tore my heart apart.

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  • hopeful
    Aug 31, 2012 - 12:15PM

    Its sad! very sad indeed!
    It is the resonsibility of the “Law-makers” to review the law for ammendments if the get litle time out of their busy schedule.

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  • Mariyah Khan
    Aug 31, 2012 - 12:22PM

    This is sheer ignorence on the part of our judicial system.
    Shame on you Pakistani system, you have once again led us down.

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  • Abbas
    Aug 31, 2012 - 12:25PM

    Can somebody ask or inquire the neihbour too? More chances, I may be wrong, are that the neihbour tried something but after failing used substandard tactics.

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  • Marxist
    Aug 31, 2012 - 12:28PM

    All Shariah laws are violations of basic human rights.

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  • Logic Europe
    Aug 31, 2012 - 12:29PM

    CJ can take popular actions like bashing people’s party , he has no real courage and commitment I may add that nation ofnpakistan has lost insight in its shortcomings What they are doing is definitely not doing any good to name of Islam

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  • casim
    Aug 31, 2012 - 12:36PM

    @gp65: Indian friend, don’t you have time for your own news websites? or you just like to comment on all the bad news in Pakistan on Pakistani news websites :) there are tons of things happening in India, better look after your country.

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  • T Khan
    Aug 31, 2012 - 12:47PM

    Where is judicial activism now?

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  • Jintoo
    Aug 31, 2012 - 12:47PM

    Time to take up arms now, join CIA, Mossad. I am sure they will definitely help us for this. Not 3 million Christians can leave the country and settle abroad, not possible. So the easiest way is seek west’s help and set up our own armed wings. Do what Altaf Hussain is doing for his community and he is successful. We are peace loving people and they consider it our weakness. We the Christians of Pakistan served this nation enough, this is time to pay back. Our nurses are the backbones of hospitals, our doctors served the nation. Half of the population of Pakistan studied in our missionary schools and colleges. We are still serving you in missionary hospitals with nominal fees. All the political leadership admit they benefited from Christian teachers in missionary institutions. The doctors, engineers and scientists grew up in our institutions and you want to kill us?? Bhutto government seized our institutions forcefully just because of hatred and now the world can see its consequences. Few missionary institutions left behind still have far more better reputation than that seized in 1970’s.

    Here is an open question for Muslim people, just tell me honestly do you feel secure to send your daughters to Madrasas or Presentation convent schools?????

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  • Sunny
    Aug 31, 2012 - 1:02PM

    Zulm at its peak !!

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  • nitish
    Aug 31, 2012 - 1:04PM

    who knows in the custody ,she is being brutally beaten and punished.

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  • Governor
    Aug 31, 2012 - 1:13PM

    Insanity prevails

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  • Parvez
    Aug 31, 2012 - 1:28PM

    Those that have accused her and their supporters are doing their job to discredit Islam, and they are succeeding simply because those who should oppose them are cowards.

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  • True blue BIHARI
    Aug 31, 2012 - 1:28PM

    Long Live Islamic Pakistan

    Long Live Pakistani Islam

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  • Dr. Asad Sadick, Germany
    Aug 31, 2012 - 1:45PM

    What are we trying to prove? That we are Muslims or that we are mad? The latter hold true.

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  • Tiwana
    Aug 31, 2012 - 2:05PM

    Absolutely appalling. Just the pretense of this case is appalling. Ashamed to be part of a country where the system demands the arrest of a young girl for desecration of a piece of paper.

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  • Prakash
    Aug 31, 2012 - 2:14PM

    Those who think that Islam needs to be saved from the acts of a paper-burning child, are themselves the biggest blasphemers.

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  • KN
    Aug 31, 2012 - 2:48PM

    What a shame. Just imagine, 14 years old mentally unstable girl with no parents presence in court surrounded by hundreds morons asking freaking stupid questions again and again and because she is mentally unstable, could not given answers they sent her back again. Sad so sad. CJ should take action immediately and release her because it is not right to keep child away from her parents.

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  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Aug 31, 2012 - 2:49PM

    People coming out of Jail say that Jail damaged them psychologically. socially and mentally. Question is who got more damage few pages from holy book or a beautiful human life. Even Quran accepts the value of human life over religion as during ramadan sick, elderly and children are exempted from fasting. No human life no religion. Religion is alive because humans are mentally healthy and if this girl comes out mentally damaged scarred what will society gain? It lost a potential productive member of the society and tax payer. One can say its her problem but society will pay too. Pakistani blasphemy law are based on punishment and not rehabilitation of the offender.

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  • Khan of Cape Town
    Aug 31, 2012 - 2:55PM

    God help Pakistan.

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  • Fahed Pervez
    Aug 31, 2012 - 3:37PM

    Support Rimsha…..!! Peaceful Protest Rally – Sunday 2 Sept at 3pm (St John’s School Murree Road) Rawalpindi

    Dear friends, Rimsha has been in priosn for almost 20 days now and it seems very unlikely that she will be released soon. Individually we have all played our role to support her through our prayers and using social media however it is now time for a UNITED EFFORT. Pakistan United Christian Movement
    (PUCM) has planned a “PEACEFUL PROTEST RALLY” on Sunday 02 September at 3pm starting from St John’s School Murree Road to Liaqat Bagh. Please participate yourself and encourage others too without any discrimination. Remember if we do no raise our voice against Tyranny it means we endorse it. We look forward seeing you there.

    Stay Blessed

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  • Liberal
    Aug 31, 2012 - 4:58PM

    Considering the amount of people you would find willing to kill her, she might in fact be safe in police custody. This reasoning might sound extremely unacceptable in any other society but it is, unfortunately, very true in ours. Only Rimsha knows what she is going through right now. I would say God also knows, but then it could lead to a debate about whose God knows and then I could also be termed a blasphemer by someone. Crazy world we live in.

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  • D2
    Aug 31, 2012 - 5:28PM

    14 days is nothing, people have been on remand for several years; If you want to be treated equally, then be ready for the bad comes with it too -But Insha’Allah, Rimsha will be acquitted soon!

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  • Cautious
    Aug 31, 2012 - 6:53PM

    How’s that Presidential mandated investigation going — probably waiting for the Abbottabad report to be finalized?

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  • Ahmev
    Aug 31, 2012 - 7:09PM

    This is criminal. Why hold the girl for another 14 days? There is no substance in this ridiculous case against her. The court is denying the basic human right to the girl.

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  • Nighat
    Aug 31, 2012 - 7:37PM

    @Abbas: You are perfectly right! Also the accuser should be scrutinized by the court. That would certainly make the person think twice before making such accusations!

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  • kdp
    Aug 31, 2012 - 7:37PM

    In India and Pakistan the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “Remand” is beating and torture of the person who is remanded. I wonder what exactly Police would do when a 11 or 14 year old juvenile is remanded now for more than 25 days. Even 18 year old Boys and Girls cry and miss their parents when they leave house for further studies at distant universities. Thinking about this child in prison surrounded by strangers brought tears.

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  • s shah
    Aug 31, 2012 - 8:56PM

    Shame on the Pakistani judicial system for this cruelty towards a child. Shame on the PMLN and the Punjab government for encouraging intolerance and hatred and a culture of impunity in that province. Please let that poor child go! The cry of the oppressed goes straight to Allah SWT. How will we answer Him when he asks us about this cruelty to a defenceless child?

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  • gp65
    Aug 31, 2012 - 9:34PM

    Who is blaspheming Islam? Is it Rimsha or
    – the neighbour who threw Noorani Qaida in trash
    – The investigating officer who thinks that destroying Noorani Qaida – which is just a book on Arabic pronunciation amounts to blasphemy and puts a 14 year old girl in custody?
    – The judge who extends the remad of a 14 year illiterate girl on an allegation that appears prima facie motivated
    – The Taliban who beheaded Pakistani soldiers because they are kuffar? (I do not know much about Islam but I am pretty sure it does not allow beheading opponents even if they are kuffar)

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  • Mobashar Ahmad
    Aug 31, 2012 - 9:35PM

    Shame on all of us for keeping this scared little mentally challenge girl in jail. Where are our leaders, maybe their job is done by making a public statements in the early days. How disgusting!!!

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  • Salim
    Aug 31, 2012 - 9:41PM

    Our courts will find her guilty but will release the terrorists who have been beheading our soldiers.

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  • James Bond
    Aug 31, 2012 - 11:05PM

    Why did we have not heard anything about the accuser? Why is media and legal system protecting them? Some one must investigate them, what are their motive.

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  • jibran
    Aug 31, 2012 - 11:12PM

    Can she get justice in this country? Why not apply the same formula to the minorities as the one for Arsalan iftikhar.

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  • Antony
    Sep 1, 2012 - 5:29AM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJs1qd3V4HM

    Here’s all I have to say. Free Rimsha!

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  • FAWZIA BAYAT
    Sep 2, 2012 - 2:07AM

    @Marxist:

    I have read Karl Marx’s viewpoint, but I can safely assume from your blanket comment that you have not read Sahih Bukhari ( 9 volumes ) a compilation of narrations of the Prophet(peace be on him) which encompasses , social, political , familial etc advices with some Decrees as revealed in The Quraan.

    pls peruse b4 making rash statements.

    the above does not mean that i agree with the judiciary of Pakistan on this particular matter; on the contrary i feel that forgiveness should prevail, bcos Allaah states in the Quraan ” IT IS BETTER IF ONE RESTRAINS ONESELF”

    Appears to me that restraint is a scarce resource with most of us (humans) , some behave like sub-humans & come from all countries , irrespective of race, religious affliation, education, social , economic status or positon.

    The current status of the world & irrational , sad & sordid events is testimony of the sub-human behaviour of so-called humans.

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  • Noor
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:28PM

    To kill a mockingbird.

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  • FAWZIA BAYAT
    Sep 4, 2012 - 5:52PM

    @Noor: Unfortunately in total contradiction to your selected name , NOOR , it appears to me you have not seen the LIGHT OF ALLAAH (Please read Surah Tin in The Noble Quraan)

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