Blasphemy case: Rimsha’s accuser caught in own trap

Published: September 3, 2012
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A policeman reprimands cleric Khalid Chishti after he attempted to shout slogans upon his arrival at a court in Islamabad. PHOTO: AFP

A policeman reprimands cleric Khalid Chishti after he attempted to shout slogans upon his arrival at a court in Islamabad. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: In a dramatic turn of events, Khalid Jadoon Chishti, the cleric who claimed to have ‘busted’ a blasphemy case involving an 11-year-old Christian girl allegedly burning pages containing verses from the holy Quran, has now been sent to jail on a 14-day judicial remand under the very same charges.

Earlier on Friday, in a rare show of courage, a man, identified as Hafiz Zubair, came forward as a witness and told a law officer that Chishti had planted evidence against Rimsha Masih, saying that the cleric deliberately put charred pages inscribed with Quranic verses in the ashes brought to him by a young man.

Ramna police arrested Chishti on Saturday night and produced him before a duty judge on Sunday before booking him under section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code, on charges of desecrating the holy Quran.

If found guilty, he can be imprisoned for life, said a police official. Police said the charges of tampering with evidence and filing a false case were also being investigated and would be included in the case against the cleric later on.

“We tried to stop him but he said this would strengthen  the blasphemy case against Rimsha,” said Zubair, a resident in the area, in his statement. He said they were sitting in Aitikaf in the mosque when they witnessed the incident.

A police officer closely associated with the investigations told The Express Tribune that the cleric not only tampered with the evidence, he made up the whole case.

“He put pages into the ashes, showed them to the people of the area, gathered them to attack the girl’s house and detained her before taking her to the police station. He made the boy Hammad become a complainant in the case and urged the police to press blasphemy charges against the 11-year-old girl,” said the police officer, who did not want to be named.

However, the boy later disappeared after the people from his neighbourhood threatened to sever their relations with him in case he appeared before the court as a complainant. The people did not want to support the cleric in this case, said the policeman. Since then, the boy has been in hiding and has not appeared before the court.

“He (Hammad) never intended to take the case to this extent. He only meant to bring it to the notice of the cleric after he saw the girl with ashes and suspected that she had burnt pages of the holy Quran,” said the officer, quoting the boy from his early investigations.

Rimsha’s case

After the recent turn in the case, Rimsha, a resident of Mehrabadia in the suburbs of the city, may be freed from Adiala jail sometime next week, said a law officer. “It is now clear that the only evidence against her was planted so there is nothing left to keep her behind bars,” said the officer.

The next hearing is to take place today (Monday). However, it is still to be seen if releasing Rimsha from jail is a safe option as she and her family are still under threat.

Protests

Meanwhile, members of the Christian community held a protest in Hyderabad on Sunday to express solidarity with the blasphemy accused.

The demonstrators were led by Bishop Kaleem John of the diocese of Hyderabad, who said that the community was outraged not only at Rimsha’s case but at the periodic accusations of blasphemy levelled against his co-religionists in order to frame them.

“Some extremist elements want to stir up confrontation and breed hatred among [our] religions,” John said earlier at a press conference. “These extremists don’t even [tolerate] our existence, in fact, they hate us.”

In reply to a question, the bishop said the Christian community would a court judgment exonerating Rimsha of blame. He warned, however, that if convicted, the verdict will be challenged in the higher courts.

According to Father Daniel Fayyaz, more than 200 Christians have been subjected to blasphemy charges, “But no one has been convicted; which shows that the law is always used for targeting minorities.” WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY Z ALI IN HYDERABAD

Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2012.

 

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Reader Comments (35)

  • RS
    Sep 3, 2012 - 6:51AM

    Good job..and greetings for the courage :)

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  • Usman S.
    Sep 3, 2012 - 6:59AM

    Where are the political leaders and why are they silent over the issue?? At least a “moderate” like Imran Khan can break his silence now that the truth has started to unfold. Same’s the case with Nawaz Sharif and Co.
    The poor child and her family deserve complete sympthay by the masses as well as the leaders. The perpetrator of this serious crime against an innocent person must now face the consequences.

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  • Sep 3, 2012 - 7:06AM

    lets see what happens

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  • gp65
    Sep 3, 2012 - 7:08AM

    Kudos to Hafiz Zubair. His courage needs to be commended. HE also needs to be protected from the many crazies like Qadri who will surely target him now.

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  • Azi
    Sep 3, 2012 - 7:13AM

    Pakistan, where lie and deceit compete in every day issues of life.

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  • Raw is War
    Sep 3, 2012 - 7:53AM

    Juat a eyewash. I think Pakistani government has come under the pressure of Western powers.

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  • Farrukh
    Sep 3, 2012 - 7:57AM

    Well “Getting the taste of his own bitter medicine”.

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  • Sindhi-Topi
    Sep 3, 2012 - 8:14AM

    This is the caliber of people who are supposed to be the preachers of Islam ! May Allah save the religion !!

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  • Garth Banks
    Sep 3, 2012 - 8:41AM

    Could the Koran pages have come from a house fire as opposed to being deliberately burnt?

    ‘He said she said’ testimony is unreliable.

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  • mahakaalchakra
    Sep 3, 2012 - 8:42AM

    The girl child should immediately be sent for medical check-up and thoroughly interrogated as to what Makkar Mulla asked her to do while she was in his custody. Why was she detained by the Mullah of questionable character? Did he tried to blackmail her in submission and failing which he raised alarm of Blasphemy in the neighborhood.

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  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Sep 3, 2012 - 8:48AM

    Repeal the law of blashphemy and give massage to the public at large that only Allah is the protecter of Quaran . If it is a book of god then there is no need of man made law to protect it .

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  • Prithvi
    Sep 3, 2012 - 8:48AM

    Good job ! At least one person in Pakistan has courage as well as guts to stand for the truth & stand against the clerics.

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  • Aamir, Toronto
    Sep 3, 2012 - 8:58AM

    I hope and pray that he is thrown behind bars for life, he desecrated Quran to punish a poor girl.

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  • reuben Watkins
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:01AM

    It is a very sad day when a cleric can do something like that because the person is of another religion. I hope they do something drastic to him for lying. If the taliban can cut of your head for playing music then he should have a very severe punishment.

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  • Farhan
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:08AM

    Seeing mulla. On a tv show made me think that something was odd about him. He should be punished.

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  • Wondering
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:10AM

    So , if he “planted” the burned paged , he must have burned them himself? Should’nt we have the blasphemy case registered against Mr. Khalid Jadoon Chishti ? It is the law of the land after all.

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  • Azazel
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:11AM

    The Blasphemy law is a very controversial one. It is subject to so much exploitation. There are no clear guidelines to follow it. It is a source of chaos and some people can use it to play with peoples emotions and can use it to purposely and wrongfully harm others.

    As of right now, I’m unable to find any punishment in Shariah for it on the internet. Don’t mistake me, I’m going to widen my search and research extensively on this topic. Did you know that the standard procedure to eliminate old worn out copies of the Quran in Saudi Arabia is by burning it?

    Besides, this is a case of such stupidity and extremism. A 11 year old girl. Are you serious? That too planted evidence. I’m disgusted by this development. Even if there was a case that she DID do it. She was way too young to face any punishment at all. Children who have not reached the age of mental maturity and understanding are free from the punishment of Allah. Then who on earth are we to punish them?

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  • JB
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:20AM

    Its people like Chishti who give Islam a bad name. Hope he rots in jail!

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  • Indian Wisdom
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:35AM

    Everything has not been lost in Pakistan and Pakistan has definitely not reached the point of no return. People like Hafiz Zubair are real hope of Pakistan. Morale of the story: “Kar Bura Ho Bura”

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  • Zain M
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:37AM

    Hafiz Zubair showed a rare courage, more people should follow his example. Now the Muslim community of that area should go to the Christen community who have left the area in fear and request them to come back to their home.

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  • Hjsam
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:43AM

    Now lets see if the Imam gets convicted or is set free, its no surprise Mr. Imran Khan to so-called next savior of Pakistan is so quite about about this case. He takes out long marches to stop drone attacks but says nothing to support Rimsha and the persecution of minorities in Pakistan.

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  • Siddique Malik
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:57AM

    I wonder in how many other such cases the accuser did something like what this Satan did. I am glad this Satan has been arrested; he must be tried and if found guilty, given stiff punishment. And the man who revealed this Satan’s dirty behavior should be rewarded by the government, so others in similar situation have the courage to expose the trouble-makers.
    Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

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  • Qasim
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:59AM

    Hafiz Zubair is the true hero. May Allah keep you safe!

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  • Sep 3, 2012 - 10:05AM

    I have always maintained that the ones that blaspheme and ridicule the esteemed personality of prophet is us muslims, makign sure he is mocked by every act of ours.

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  • Imran Munawar
    Sep 3, 2012 - 10:10AM

    Give him the taste of his own medicine!!!

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  • JPD
    Sep 3, 2012 - 10:36AM

    I pray for the little child… Just imagine the fear and hurt she must be going through. I hear she is a 11-year old with Down’s syndrome… Can they please return her to her family.. This is the most important need of the hour

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  • syed Imran
    Sep 3, 2012 - 11:31AM

    Hang this Maulvi for Blasphemy

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  • anonymous
    Sep 3, 2012 - 12:14PM

    Hats off to “Hafiz Zubair” for his honesty and courage to tell the truth. A fortitude on display that many in Pakistan need to learn from and exercise for saving the nation from evil of humanity.

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  • Nighat
    Sep 3, 2012 - 12:34PM

    @Zain M:
    Hafiz Zubair gives one hope for a true religion which does NOT support Satanic Clerics. He should be highly honoured for following inner TRUTH; Sufi guidance to Islam and spirituality. He surely has earned his place in heaven but the true Muslims must support him to survive in this world of satanic Islamic clerics.

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  • Sep 3, 2012 - 12:52PM

    What kind of a party ends at 10:00 pm?

    Maybe a senior citizens’ ball. Maybe.

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  • Sultan Khan
    Sep 3, 2012 - 1:08PM

    ‘ YE WO MULLAH HAIN JINHEIN DEKH KE SHARMAEN YAHOOD’ .Initially, I was much perturbed to see in the photograph the man being mishandled by the police but then the real story justified the treatment. He must have been shouting “Islam is in danger”

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  • KT
    Sep 3, 2012 - 4:44PM

    Oh those Men of God and the lengths they can go to satisfy their egos and exploit the poor and illiterate. This is the reason why there is no institution of clergy in Islam. It has emerged because of our laziness to educate ourselves in religious matters, which is the responsibility of each Muslim so that they cannot be exploited by devious people implanting themselves as intermediaries between God and people. Daily we commit blasphemy by taking the word of these mullahs as the word of God itself and not confirm it through our own research and study. Makes one wonder that Kamal Ata-Turk was right in drowing all the mullahs in the sea after taking over and reforming Turkey.

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  • Ayesha
    Sep 3, 2012 - 6:47PM

    I’m glad and relieved to see this twist in this story and praying that Rimsha, her family and her community will now be safe and welcomed back. I also hope this incident helps us evaluate these incredibly unjust and easily misused laws. By showing such intolerant behavior in all these cases of blasphemy, we are the ones who are truly blaspheming against the tolerance, gentleness and peace taught in Islam. Recommend

  • golden judgement
    Sep 4, 2012 - 12:11AM

    people like hafiz zubair and khalid pista who had false charged of blasphemy on christian old girl are the students of satin and the court should have to give them a death sentence so that no one can placed false charged against christians.. if any christian has done the insult of islam,not only islam but of any religion so he will be the punished as khalid as zubair……

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  • Farooq Malik
    Sep 4, 2012 - 9:29PM

    he should be tried and we should get rid of this man made and self defeating law, which makes us Muslims appear weak of faith. Let there be debate and if people want to enter or leave Islam then there should be no compulsion. We have not taken a tekha to protect Islam. Just make it a personal decision as to how you observe it. Just like Turkey has done…

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