Threatened in Pakistan, Rimsha Masih escapes to Canada

Published: June 30, 2013
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Rimsha being transported to an undisclosed location after being granted bail. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

Rimsha being transported to an undisclosed location after being granted bail. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

The Christian girl who was acquitted of blasphemy charges, has been living in Canada for a few weeks, CBC News Canada reported on Saturday.

Masih, whose family was receiving threats despite an acquittal from the Islamabad High Court of blasphemy charges, journeyed in secret to an undisclosed location in Canada just weeks ago, according to Peter Bhatti, who runs a Christian organisation that is helping the family settle in Canada.

Bhatti said the Rimsha and her family have been granted special permission by the Canadian government to live there and that they are all relieved and happy.

“She is doing wonderful. She is studying in school, every day, she going to school, she is learning, she is starting to talk more,” he told CBC.

Rimsha, believed to be no older than 14, was accused of burning pages from a noorani qaida (elementary religious book with verses of the Holy Quran) — a move that led to global condemnation and concerns about the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan.

IHC Chief Justice Rehman stated in the verdict that on one hand the complainant in the FIR said that the accused carried a polythene bag containing verses of the Holy Quran but he failed to explain how he had suspected it when the verses were not visible from the bag.

The charges against Rimsha had led to the exodus of dozens of Christian families from the neighbourhood after cleric Chishti, the imam of a mosque, allegedly issued a decree on his mosque’s loudspeaker to burn Christians of the Mehrabadi village alive.

Rimsha was detained for three weeks in the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi and was granted bail on September 6. The detention led to global condemnation and concerns by rights organisations.

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Reader Comments (54)

  • truth
    Jun 30, 2013 - 1:52AM

    This is yesterday’s news. What happened to ET.

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  • Voce
    Jun 30, 2013 - 1:58AM

    A time will be arriving soon, when educated people of pakistan pakistan will force islamists and their sympathizers to seek shelters and curse theirselves for their bad intentions and deeds.

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  • saqibtahir
    Jun 30, 2013 - 2:43AM

    Feel proud to be a Canadian more than ever.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Jun 30, 2013 - 2:46AM

    Fine way to get rid of minorities in the land of Pure !
    Sadly, given chance the most of the people will seek any route out of this Country!
    No wonder that all the western embassies are so busy and long lines to pick up applications, let alone obtain VISAS “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Eddied
    Jun 30, 2013 - 2:49AM

    How sad is this when a proven innocent Christian has to flee Pakistan for her life…the intolerance displayed indicates that Pakistan is no longer safe for anyone who does not belong to a specific religion…I can not even say it is safe for Muslims because some Muslims are not safe in that country either…is this what Pakistanis want their country to be?…shame, shame, shame..

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  • disillusioned
    Jun 30, 2013 - 2:52AM

    Pakistan has declared a holy war on teenage girls.

    We really do have a despicable nation.

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  • Ron Khan
    Jun 30, 2013 - 3:01AM

    Allah helps people in many ways.

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  • Frankly speaking
    Jun 30, 2013 - 3:14AM

    Great news. I am so happy today. When the rest of Christians and the hindus will wake up from their slumber? Please leave before its too late. Life and honour is more important material comfort of any kind.

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  • Shock Horror
    Jun 30, 2013 - 3:32AM

    Yet another feather in the cap of the sanctimonious residents of the Land of the Pure!

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  • Salman
    Jun 30, 2013 - 3:39AM

    Got for her. Enjoy safe, civilised and peaceful life in Canada

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  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Jun 30, 2013 - 4:00AM

    “Cleric Chishti, the imam of a mosque, allegedly issued a decree on his mosque’s loudspeaker to burn Christians of the Mehrabadi village alive”.

    Even Allah shook his head in disbelief. Wah reh Allah key Bande–

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  • Aysha M
    Jun 30, 2013 - 4:05AM

    What is this place called Pakistan, which I must ne’er understand (apologies to Cibber)
    Rimsha driven out, Ghamdi in Malaysia, what do these mullahs want?

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  • Hascen Ik
    Jun 30, 2013 - 4:14AM

    Kudos to Canada

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  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Jun 30, 2013 - 4:15AM

    Uhm does this means if asked today Mush will paraphrase the famous quote: “A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself charged with blasphemy”?

    “Sept 17, 2005, NEW YORK: There is mounting anger and disgust worldwide over Pakistani military dictator Pervez Musharraf’s coarse “get raped, become rich” remarks even as the general claimed he was only paraphrasing “what others are saying.”
    Canadian prime minister Paul Martin bluntly took up the issue with Musharraf during a meeting at the UN, irked by the Pakistani general’s gratuitous reference to Canada in his uncouth utterances.

    Musharraf, when asked about the Mukhtaran Mai rape incident in Pakistan, told The Washington Post in an interview published Tuesday that Pakistan should not be singled out on rape issues as other countries had the same problems.
    “You must understand the environment in Pakistan… This has become a money-making concern. A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped,” he told the paper. Martin said such comments “are not acceptable”and …”

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  • khankhan
    Jun 30, 2013 - 4:31AM

    I am still waiting on Imam sentence for life for blasphemy. What a shameful nation. This is how we treat our minorities in our country. God have mercy.

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  • Imran Hussain
    Jun 30, 2013 - 5:08AM

    After all Islam is the most compassionate religion in the word, and Muslims are the most tolerant followers.

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  • Haris Chaudhry
    Jun 30, 2013 - 5:08AM

    Great to see the humanity in Canadians !

    Pakistan say Zinda Bhag !

    Good on you Rimsha !

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  • Jun 30, 2013 - 5:10AM

    sharia law is destined to reach in Pakistan..

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  • Pakistani Ostrich
    Jun 30, 2013 - 5:26AM

    Some people knowingly get persecuted under blasphemy laws to get canadian citizenship and tarnish our image. (this is number two on their list, the first one being getting raped!)
    -A Modified version of gems uttered by a decorated commando, generail Mush.

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  • Asad
    Jun 30, 2013 - 5:37AM

    Our former Prime Minister was right … “Why don’t they leave then? Who’s stopping them?”

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  • R2D2
    Jun 30, 2013 - 5:43AM

    escape from the country of barbarians

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  • Roni
    Jun 30, 2013 - 5:53AM

    What a shame while our Muslim clerics want to burn Christians alive the West is providing the victims citizenship and all civic facilities. Kudos to the liberal policies of Canada and other Western countries. Our favorite China and Muslim countries would not give citizenship would they?

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  • Calvin Chen
    Jun 30, 2013 - 6:00AM

    Thank you, Canada, for rescuing this poor girl from the clutches of extremists, killers and other savages who are using religion to persecute minorities in a country that has produced the worst offenders of human rights.

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  • Candaian Canuck
    Jun 30, 2013 - 6:12AM

    Thank you Canada. This was a smart move. If she would have stayed in Pakistan she would have been killed or converted to Islam.Its high time Ahmedis, Hindus, Shias , Christians , Parsis and Sikhs plan to move out of Pakistan if get a chance, if not convert to Sunni Islam. It is better to convert to Sunni Islam than live as second class citizens.

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  • Raj Kafir
    Jun 30, 2013 - 6:15AM

    Hope she is not on welfare in Canada like Pakistani cleric Tahirul Qadri.

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  • A. Khan
    Jun 30, 2013 - 6:57AM

    Good for her and her family. Not so good for Pakistan’s image.

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  • Rana
    Jun 30, 2013 - 7:03AM

    Absolutely shocking. While I commend the courts for ensuring the swift and impartial delivery of justice, I do not get the reason for this girl to be sent out of the country as it sets a very bad precedent. Surely, Pakistan can take care of it’s own problems without having to resort to outsourcing our problems to another country !!

    Today it is an innocent Christian girl, a few days later it was Hindus from Sindh who wanted to claim refuge in India and a couple of months before this incident was the exodus of Hazara Shias to Australia. Come on Pakistan, we need to protect our own citizens if at all we are to inculcate a feeling of patriotism in each one of them. Looking at the way things are progressing in this country, I am losing hope and am increasingly growing worried. Please prove me wrong Pakistan.

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  • Usman (Toronto)
    Jun 30, 2013 - 7:11AM

    Bravo. Good luck to her and the entire family. At least now they’ll get a decent chance to get ahead ahead in life. In fact they’ll probably be already admiring what real life has to offer.

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  • Danny K
    Jun 30, 2013 - 7:11AM

    Why on Earth’s name would any country, any media group (like CBC or CTV), or any lawyer (especially “hers”) announce in public via the Internet or any other international media means where Rimsha and her family has moved to?

    Are we so in lust with violating even the privacy of those involved in crucial and critical events that none of us know where to draw the line on what’s public privilege and what is not?

    I do not agree that ANYONE should have announced where this girl and her family are … not even by country. This is crossing the line on fair versus unfair reporting!

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  • Daniyal
    Jun 30, 2013 - 7:18AM

    Seriously man….ban these mullah guys from speaking on there loudspeakers….!

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  • Nitin
    Jun 30, 2013 - 7:52AM

    shortcut to migrate to Non Muslim peaceful countries

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  • Amir
    Jun 30, 2013 - 8:02AM

    At least now she will have a better, safer, life. Wish her success in a country which accepts her as she is.

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  • Qureshi
    Jun 30, 2013 - 8:18AM

    Are we slowly becoming Na-Pakistan or were we never ever Pakistan? Shame on us.

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  • csmann
    Jun 30, 2013 - 8:22AM

    So what action was taken against mullah Chishti for ordering christians to be burnt alive?Is that less of a blasphemy-to kill in the name of Rahmat-al-aalmeen?Shameful!

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  • Sam
    Jun 30, 2013 - 8:25AM

    @ET:You have not updated your news yet, how long it’ll take to give news about Altaf Hussain?

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  • Mi
    Jun 30, 2013 - 8:27AM

    @Voce:

    The islamists find a fertile ground due to various factors to easily spread and promote hate. It is the mindset which needs to be tackled head on for lasting peace and change.

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  • Marium
    Jun 30, 2013 - 8:29AM

    Good for her and shame on these so called ‘good Muslims’ who continue to threaten her even after she was proven guilty. They should be apologetic to this little girl for the way she was treated in the name of Islam!
    Good luck with everything.

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  • khankhan
    Jun 30, 2013 - 8:43AM

    Why ET never publish my comments. What are they scare off?

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  • Shame
    Jun 30, 2013 - 8:43AM

    Pakistan was born on the basis of Religion and will die on the basis of Relegion

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  • Rukhshan Haroon
    Jun 30, 2013 - 8:51AM

    Isn’t it biased that blasphemy is confined to degradation of the Muslims only? I mean, when a Muslim defames another religion, why doesn’t, he too, is ought to strive with the same penalty?

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  • SickOfThis
    Jun 30, 2013 - 9:00AM

    @Voce:
    That time will never come, because the ordinary people of pakistan are themselves the islamists and their sympathisers.

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  • Praful R Shah
    Jun 30, 2013 - 9:16AM

    @Voce:

    This will never happen. Pakistan is a failed nation with grim and bleak future. Pakistani army has cultivated and strengthened these religious fervors. Pakistani politicians are gutless and put up supported them. Public is stupid 7 ignorant.

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  • Farouk Khan
    Jun 30, 2013 - 9:37AM

    What is the state doing about the cleric who was inciting death and mayhem.

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  • 1984
    Jun 30, 2013 - 9:50AM

    @truth:
    They just wanted to make sure the extremists dont try to block the Canada bound flight after hearing the news……

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  • Jun 30, 2013 - 10:57AM

    @Voce: my uncompromising support to you, my friend. Salams

    “Be sympathetic towards the poor so that they may be able to speak and build courage.” Hazrat Umer (RA).
    The imam should have shown understanding and compassion.

    “Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.” Benjamin Franklin. Brainyquote.com/
    The ignorance of Rimsha and the unwillingness of the imam to learn.
    This has become a national shame for us and the tragedy is that the political parties, for votes, are responsible for supporting riff raffs all over the country. Salams

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  • Sri Ram
    Jun 30, 2013 - 10:58AM

    And so the cleansing of Pakistan of all those who do not follow Islam continues. Hardly surprising though given that once Muslims living in a part of the Indian Sub-continent decided that they needed to cloister themselves from other religions it was only a matter of time that attention would turn to cleansing the nation of any remnants of other religions.Recommend

  • ashar
    Jun 30, 2013 - 11:40AM

    @Voce:
    That time will never come rather the other way will happen and all the athiests and anti Islam will be driven out of the country or will be allowed to live within modesty limits.

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  • nassi
    Jun 30, 2013 - 12:01PM

    Islamic extremism in Pakistan will die down eventually but frustratingly it will be a slow process. Unfortunately persecution of people from religious minorities like Rimsha will not suddenly come to an end. The message for the extremist is loud and clear as resoundingly heard in the recent elections. The vast majority of Pakistanis are not interested their version of Islam but the problem is that these people are still not getting the message.

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  • nassi
    Jun 30, 2013 - 12:56PM

    Islamic extremism in Pakistan will die down eventually but frustratingly it will be a slow process. Unfortunately persecution of people from religious minorities like Rimsha will not suddenly come to an end. The message for the extremist is loud and clear as resoundingly heard in the recent elections. The vast majority of Pakistanis are not interested in their version of Islam but the problem is that these people are still not getting the message.

    Recommend

  • Frankly speaking
    Jun 30, 2013 - 1:11PM

    @Asad

    “Why don’t they leave then? Who is stoping them?”

    They can’t leave the country. They are so much in love with their business and money, that they will rather sacrifice their daughters and sisters but not take the trouble of migrating to India. I am also Indian, but I hate these pakistani hindus and christians. Those who didn’t learn in 65 years, will not learn in next 100 years and by that time there will be nothing left to learn. They should learn from Indian Muslims, who are migrating to Pakistan by the millions to escape from the cruelty of hindu India.

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  • Genesis
    Jun 30, 2013 - 4:57PM

    @Ron Khan:
    Including harassment ?

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  • A Shock
    Jun 30, 2013 - 11:44PM

    @Shock Horror:
    It is more like Land of the Impure and not Land of the pure!

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  • Jyala
    Jul 1, 2013 - 12:29PM

    Thanks God, she is safe now.

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  • ikp
    Jul 1, 2013 - 3:04PM

    @Frankly speaking:

    material comforts? what material comforts ?

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