Blasphemy case: Still no bail for Rimsha

By AFP
Published: September 3, 2012
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 Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, a lawyer for Rimsha Masih, a Christian girl accused of blasphemy, speaks to the media along with other lawyers after he appeared before a judge at the district court in Islamabad. PHOTO: AFP

Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, a lawyer for Rimsha Masih, a Christian girl accused of blasphemy, speaks to the media along with other lawyers after he appeared before a judge at the district court in Islamabad. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: A young Pakistani Christian girl accused of blasphemy in a case that has prompted international concern will stay in jail until at least Friday, after a bail hearing on Monday was adjourned.

Rimsha has been in custody since being arrested in a poor Islamabad suburb, Mehrabadia, two and a half weeks ago, accused of burning papers containing verses from the Holy Quran, in breach of Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws.

Judge Muhammad Azam Khan adjourned the case until September 7 because of a lawyers’ strike, following a request from the lawyer for Rimsha’s neighbour Hammad Malik, who filed the original complaint against her.

Police on Saturday arrested 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 told the police that he had tampered with the evidence.

Chishti’s deputy Maulvi Hafiz Mohammad Zubair and two others, Mohammad Shahzad and Awais Ahmed, told a magistrate the cleric added pages from the Holy Quran to the burnt pages brought to him by a witness to beef up the case against her.

A medical report last week said Rimsha appeared to be around 14 years old, which would make her a minor, and had a mental age below her true age, but the court has yet to decide whether to accept the assessment.

Some reports have said Rimsha has Down’s Syndrome and her case has prompted concern from Western governments and anger from rights groups, who warn the blasphemy legislation is often abused to settle personal vendettas.

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Reader Comments (37)

  • Acorn Guts
    Sep 3, 2012 - 1:31PM

    The girl is left to suffer because the lawyer is on strike? What kind of justice system allows that? Can’t we ditch this sorry excuse for a lawyer (read human) and hire some proper legal representation instead?

    This whole fiasco plunges even deeper into the depths of absurdity when you think these imbeciles can’t go any lower.

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  • feroze
    Sep 3, 2012 - 1:36PM

    BAIL?? She should be instantly aquitted and allowed to with her family immediately leave the country!!!

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  • Nand
    Sep 3, 2012 - 1:54PM

    As usual, we need more proof and not literature.

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  • Bloom
    Sep 3, 2012 - 2:20PM

    our Courts seems to be talibanized

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  • chris conner
    Sep 3, 2012 - 2:28PM

    I say we just level countries like this

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  • Baloch
    Sep 3, 2012 - 2:56PM

    I swear! She is unfortunate to born in the land of pure.
    If Allah writes the destiny and children are innocent then whose crimes she facing punishment for?
    Wish I was born in an atheist or secular country.

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  • Obedullah
    Sep 3, 2012 - 3:04PM

    Shame on you Pakistan shame on you!!

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  • Faisal Hayat
    Sep 3, 2012 - 3:07PM

    I think Rimsha’s case provides us the Pakistani’s a strategic opportunity to nail the evil in the bud. We have for once an Imam Masjid in custody with ample evidence that he has not just implicated an innocent girl of Blasphemy but has also committed Blasphemy himself. He should be hanged in public and made an example! The nation is looking forward to the honourable Chief Justice to deliver a historic verdict, which will help address some momentous angularities prevalent in our society.
    Its time for the so called SILENT MAJORITY to raise their voice against the extremist minority who have held the country hostage in the name of religion to further their own political agendas. Pakistan is for PAKISTANI’S ONLY…
    In the words of Quaid-e-Azam “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State… We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State… I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in due course Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.
    Quaid’s speech to the First Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11 Aug 1947.

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  • Cautious
    Sep 3, 2012 - 3:53PM

    Congratulations Pakistan – once again you have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory! Arresting the Imam was a step in the right direction but all that counts for nothing if you don’t release the child.

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  • zoya
    Sep 3, 2012 - 3:57PM

    let her go she is just a child .She is Innocent Hang that Cleric

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  • Tahir
    Sep 3, 2012 - 3:57PM

    @Nand:
    Even then those proofs are not gonna work. Because then they will need further proofs to conter check those “proofs”.

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  • Pakistani
    Sep 3, 2012 - 4:20PM

    @Cautious: The case is in the court, let them decide it don’t impose your thoughts on others, keep quite in your slums in inida

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  • S Khan
    Sep 3, 2012 - 4:34PM

    When C J can order doctors not to strike any further as people suffer, why can not he take notice of his foot solders going on strike every now and then.
    C J look at the performance of the lower courts even with no strike judge is afraid to deliver the justice as he is hostage himself

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  • Azazel
    Sep 3, 2012 - 4:53PM

    There is NO evidence in the Shari’ah that ‘hudood’ punishment was inscribed for the burning of the Quran or that it is a blasphemy in the first place. To eliminate extremely old and worn out copies of the Quran which are no longer intelligible, three methods are employed: burning, burying or shredding. Purposely burning of the Quran is NO DOUBT disrespectful but in NO way does it deserve a life imprisonment sentence because no such punishment was inscribed. We have NO right to inscribe punishments where there are none. Neither do we have the right to add new things into religion (bid’ah) because that would indicate that Islam was incomplete or in need of something new (which if it was, the Prophet himself would have revealed it to us with the will of Allah); a direct contradiction of the Ayaat: …This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion… (5:3)

    Citation: http://islamqa.com/en/ref/114932

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  • gp65
    Sep 3, 2012 - 4:55PM

    @Pakistani: “@Cautious: The case is in the court, let them decide it don’t impose your thoughts on others, keep quite in your slums in inida”

    Yes indeed it is in court. But do you not see the irony that while your court cannot and does not hold any terrorist including people like Malik Ishaq citing lack of evidence, it wil keep an illiterate 14 year old framed on a false charge in jail despite the fact that the police has evidence that the girls was framed.

    And yes India may have slums but our justice system is not Talibanised and I am proud to say that minorities can and do get justice in our court system,

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  • Wahab
    Sep 3, 2012 - 5:26PM

    I dislikeCJ.
    He’s a corrupt person in the justice system of Pakistan.

    Was he able to provide justice to Ayesha Ahad ?
    NO!!!
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  • Anonymous
    Sep 3, 2012 - 5:42PM

    Judge Muhammad Azam Khan adjourned the case until September 7 because of a lawyers’ strike, following a request from the lawyer for Rimsha’s neighbour Hammad Malik, who filed the original complaint against her.

    Where was the strike? The lawyer for the accuser was present to object the bail. He requested adjournment and the judge accepted . Was the jusge scared of the fanatics?Recommend

  • A.
    Sep 3, 2012 - 5:56PM

    According to Reuters people from Rimsha and Imam’s area are very angry. They have said to support the imam no matter what. Christians will never be allowed to come back.
    Infact there are quotes from several women who say that christians should be burnt alive.

    Really ashamed of my country. The silent majority is a myth just like all other myths we made to make ourselves feel better.

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  • Jaideep Gupta
    Sep 3, 2012 - 6:24PM

    i shall request the honorable court please keep this girl as long as possible in either judicial or police custody.once she comes out from the jail she will be killed by fanatics which will put shame on Pakistan.Pakistan is a land of pure and these fanatics and extremist organisations are getting active patronage from the administration thereby giving bad name to the country.

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  • Menco
    Sep 3, 2012 - 6:27PM

    Pakistan is truly a basket case – the next Somalia. I read now that the man sold nuclear secrets to North Korea is contemplating a political career. Apparently he is considered a national hero. Can’t think of a historical precedent where such a pariah country flaunted common sense in the name of religion.Recommend

  • Khan101
    Sep 3, 2012 - 6:52PM

    @gp65: “”And yes India may have slums but our justice system is not Talibanised and I am proud to say that minorities can and do get justice in our court system””

    Yes its obvious what you did to Modi

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  • Farrukh khan
    Sep 3, 2012 - 7:19PM

    The neighbor who plotted with the mullah must arrested along with the mullah and the lawyer
    Rao for on hatred charges and instigating people to take law in their hands if the court frees the girl. I think CJ is pretending to sleep that is why he is not listening

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  • sumair
    Sep 3, 2012 - 7:24PM

    The day this girl will be killed by muslims by any means in the name of GOD, i will leave islam. period

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  • mahakaalchakra
    Sep 3, 2012 - 7:52PM

    @sumair:

    Do you know what is the punishment for leaving Islam?

    I am just concerned about your safety.

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  • Wiki
    Sep 3, 2012 - 8:07PM

    @sumair…I think its not a good idea. Shame of u even talking about islam، there are diff types of peoples in every religion so u should not see to them. Islam is a universal religion . U are guilty of ur sayings so sorry to Allah for that.Recommend

  • Vigilant
    Sep 3, 2012 - 8:20PM

    Our judicial system is full of biased judgesRecommend

  • YA
    Sep 3, 2012 - 10:42PM

    @Sumair: I hope you don’t live in Pakistan…. The land unfortunately inherited by us. Mushriq should be put to dead is another byproduct of this great (inept) society which gave us the Blasphemy law and Hudood ordinance. Recommend

  • patriot
    Sep 4, 2012 - 2:36AM

    BTW, what is the stance of PML(N) on this issue???

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  • upkar gill
    Sep 4, 2012 - 6:56AM

    @feroze: you are right but i have a feeling someone will harm her and her family as soon as she gets out,the pakistan government should send her and her family out of the country.

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  • Raw is War
    Sep 4, 2012 - 7:31AM

    expected as much. Even if somebody gives a video proof that the girl is innocent, she cannot be saved.

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  • Eddie dex
    Sep 4, 2012 - 7:40AM

    Please, leaders of Pakistan, have you no sense of compassion? Get this girl,out of prison….it has been proven she is a minor…do the right thing…give her back to her parents..

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  • Rakib
    Sep 4, 2012 - 11:22AM

    It may be safer for the girl to remain for a while under protective custody of the court till she is declared innocent loud & clear by the court. Masses should accept her innocence totally. And that can happen only after the Cleric is charged formally. Secondly, trying the Cleric under very same blasphemy laws would, in a manner perverse, only reaffirm the law & strengthen the position of those that support it. It should be a fresh trial preferably in a different court under different provisions. He should be tried under various other sections applicable to all non-religious offenses such as cheating, perjury, inciting or even attempt to murder.

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  • Ali Hasan
    Sep 4, 2012 - 3:56PM

    She is fourteen. It is an enormous travesty of justice that she is in jail, for whatever reason. Ironically though, that is where she may be safest. Ironically, and tragically.

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  • Jat
    Sep 4, 2012 - 7:06PM

    Please let the child go, please !

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  • Ali Mujtaba
    Sep 4, 2012 - 10:13PM

    Such a shameful act in Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
    It reminds all of us that we are living in uncivilized society, where there is no mercy, no justice and compassion. To see this horrible thing in Islam I have decided to leave Islam. I am no more Muslim.Recommend

  • J Ndluli
    Sep 5, 2012 - 1:06AM

    All those people (Muslims) who falsely accused this innocent girl (Rimsha), should be aware of their major sin – FALSE ACCUSATION. Such is considered حَرَام‎ ḥarām!

    Christians have a saying: “Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone”. The meaning of this is clear – none of us are perfect or sinless. Therefore we should be tolerant and forgiving of others. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen, because of our arrogance – it makes some people feel superior to other groups and as a result they insult, demean and falsely accuse others. Just as happened in this case.

    Time for Muslims to reflect on their faith and correct teachings.

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  • khan of quetta
    Sep 6, 2012 - 1:23PM

    it take years for people to get there cases heard in pakistan so much cry for a single girl

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