Rimsha case: Cleric Khalid Chisti acquitted

Published: August 17, 2013
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Khalid Chisti. PHOTO: FILE

Khalid Chisti. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court acquitted prime suspect Khalid Chisti of all charges as 6 out of 8 eyewitnesses changed their statements in court, Express News reported on Saturday.

Eye-witnesses said they made different statements earlier due to various pressures.

The cleric was accused of adding pages from the Holy Quran to ashes seized from 14-year-old Rimsha Masih to implicate her and make the case stronger.

Three witnesses who had testified against the cleric had later backtracked from their statements saying that the police had “forced” them to testify on October 10, 2012.

Rimsha was arrested under the blasphemy laws from the outskirts of Islamabad on August 16, 2012 after a mob of angry residents gathered at the Ramna Police Station and accused her of burning pages of the Holy Quran.

The charges against Rimsha 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.

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Reader Comments (41)

  • csmann
    Aug 17, 2013 - 1:18PM

    This means witnesses were terrorized to change their statements.What possible reason could have been there for the police to force these liars. The terrorists win again.

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  • poleturtle
    Aug 17, 2013 - 1:25PM

    Only God knows the truth, but the eye witnesses should be punished too for lying.
    So what about inciting Murder? Asking people to burn the Christians alive? Is that legal in this Islamic Republic?

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  • Salman Hasan
    Aug 17, 2013 - 1:36PM

    This is a perfect example why our country is losing this war on terror. It’s a shame for a nation of not punishing culprits who falsely accuses minorities and then persecutes them on lies. These people who changed their statements in court, will have to answer Allah SWT in his court of Hashr. Be prepared to face his wrath which will be eternal. Shame on prosecution and High Courts for failing this nation again.

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  • amr
    Aug 17, 2013 - 1:36PM

    is there no punishment for those who change statements

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  • sabi
    Aug 17, 2013 - 1:45PM

    This shows mullah is the most safe citizen of this land no matter whatsoever.

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  • BRUISED INDIAN
    Aug 17, 2013 - 1:56PM

    Today, my feeling and conviction that someone UP there is playing us all for our betterment by HIS strings is more deeper and stronger; Rimsha and her family are safe in Canada, free to practice their faith and living a normal life as humans should. Today, they are free to visit their Church(es), wear their cross and not be termed as chooras.

    As far as the cleric, the powers that be UP there, used his idiocy and bigotry to help someone alleviate them of their miseries!

    Now, am sure that the cleric would have been first to ask for migration to Canada, Hee Hee Hee… guess revenge is sweet!

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  • Hitler
    Aug 17, 2013 - 1:59PM

    Chief Justice…do you mind? Show us why should we trust you if your and your system can’t even deliver justice to general public..

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  • Afaaq
    Aug 17, 2013 - 2:14PM

    The sad state of affairs. Those who cant be anything, become religious clerics.

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  • zog
    Aug 17, 2013 - 2:23PM

    People who gave false statements should punished under the law. This is the product of years, decades of jahaliat.

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  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan
    Aug 17, 2013 - 2:23PM

    The concept of “insaaf” is truely dead in the courts in pakistan.If there is no conviction in a well known case like this one, I shudder to think about the cases which has not been covered as well as this one. I can sense that this mullah will not rest his laurels with just the rimsha case and will try it again as he has tasted blood. 6 out of 8 witnesses that means 2 people did not change their statements so why was he still acquitted ? Even 2 witnesses are more than enough to convict this mullah. Rab rakha

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  • ali ahmed
    Aug 17, 2013 - 2:41PM

    now fanatics has the freedom of action .

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  • Parvez
    Aug 17, 2013 - 2:57PM

    One has to wonder as to why we have a judicial system when it consistently fails to deliver.

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  • Uza Syed
    Aug 17, 2013 - 2:58PM

    Welcome to the ‘cloud cuckoo land’ that this man, some self possessed (neurotic of sorts), describes and defends somewhere else on these pages today.

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  • antanu
    Aug 17, 2013 - 3:04PM

    not surprising…..this trend is rampant in entire subcontinent.

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  • adeel
    Aug 17, 2013 - 3:23PM

    A sad sad day for quaid s Pakistan

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  • sunsand
    Aug 17, 2013 - 3:38PM

    @Salman Hasan:
    My friend, what courts can do if eye witnesses change statement or don’t even go to court for statement. It is not that simple – Shersha scrap market killings in Karachi and then killers’ acquittal tells all. If there is no evidence, how can court decide a case.
    And I also condemn the preacher for using the masjid loudspeaker to spread hatered and movig people to kill and burn others. But in real world, it is not easy to go against them. It will not stop, until we are ready to pay the price.

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  • sofi siddiqui
    Aug 17, 2013 - 3:57PM

    @ Poleturtle… It is absolutely illegal and insane as per both Islamic sharia and Pakistani lawsRecommend

  • mind control
    Aug 17, 2013 - 3:58PM

    Rimsha case: Cleric Khalid Chisti acquitted

    All the accused of Gojra were acquitted.

    There were no convictions in Shanti Nagar also.

    Joseph Colony culprits are not loosing any sleep over their actions.

    No one was ever caught for burning down a Church during Youm -e- Ishq-e-Rasool.

    So what exactly is newsworthy in this?

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  • Ali
    Aug 17, 2013 - 4:05PM

    One glaring mistake in this report — whatever Chishti may or may not have done to taint evidence, he was not the one to make speeches or make any decrees against the Christians of Mehrabadi. He was the one who initially became involved when Rimsha was accused by neighbors, and called in the police. It was the imam of a mosque in an adjoining area that then raked up the issue and threatened violence. In this dysfunctional state of course, there are never perpetrators, only victims and scapegoats.

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  • Aysha M
    Aug 17, 2013 - 4:06PM

    It is extremely distressing and disturbing to see people with the mindset of this breed of clerics are set free without being reprimanded. Decisions like this is making us become increasingly a more intolerant and insecure society with each passing. Very unfortunate

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  • Aug 17, 2013 - 4:09PM

    @Hitler: legislation is done by Parliament. Judiciary is to follow the procedure to achieve justice relying on witnesses or other evidences. To punish the alleged police or law enforcing agencies have to produce material or circumstantial evidences to come to a conclusion that the person is guilty. So the fault lies with the police/ law enforcing agencies who are unable or unwilling to produce sufficient evidences to prove them guilty. Or why not the general people demand that some one who is caught on charges of terrorist activities will be adjudged guilty without much evidence . Change the rule/ law and get the desired result. Blame the agency which deserve/ are liable.

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  • red n rosy
    Aug 17, 2013 - 4:16PM

    to try and stop this downwards spiral the leaders have tto set some basic principles.
    1. compulsary education for all
    2. empowerment of women
    3. protection of human rights
    4. ban any incitement to violence.
    5. set up hotlines to report corruption

    if you start on this path then I can see Pakistan pulling back from the brink and improving living conditions,for all.

    Is this not part of what Allah preaches?

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  • freedom
    Aug 17, 2013 - 4:32PM

    thats not call a justice at all this kind of people must be punished so no one will do such kind of things.

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  • expaki
    Aug 17, 2013 - 4:57PM

    @adeel: A sad sad day for quaid s Pakistan”” Adeel he KNEW what he was making. IF NOT, then what kind of foresight he have had?

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  • Anwer Chughtai
    Aug 17, 2013 - 5:19PM

    And then you wonder why rest of the World labels the whole Pakistani Nation as bunch of terrorists?

    Educated and civil society needs to protest and speak against this kind of verdict.

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  • xulfjan
    Aug 17, 2013 - 6:32PM

    Rimsha is now living in a country where she has more justice and people have more guts to stand up for the truth. Pakistan is now a land of Kazibs and Zulm!!

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  • unbelievable
    Aug 17, 2013 - 6:46PM

    And you wonder why Pakistan has such a terrible reputation or why international investors want disputes adjudicated outside of Pakistan?

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  • Talat Haque
    Aug 17, 2013 - 7:39PM

    Sad day for any hope ! What kind of law lets him get away with inciting people to burn homes and hurt and kill people? He should be punished and so should the witnesses and also the police who they say forced them …………. the whole bunch of wretched specimens!

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  • naeem Khan Manhattan,Ks
    Aug 17, 2013 - 8:50PM

    @sunsand: you made it so simple, there are laws on Pakistani books to punish those who incite hatred or disturbance in the community and above all terroristic threats to others. If it could be proved that he did try to incite the villagers to burn the Christians then he must be prosecuted for inciting riots and body harm to other citizens. The problem is that Pakistani judiciary or the law enforcement agencies look the other way when it comes to the minorities in Pakistan and that is one of the main reasons that these people get away with all sorts of criminal activities.

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  • Prof. Shahid Mobeen
    Aug 17, 2013 - 9:05PM

    When a muslim is accused of blasphamy only he is victamized e.g. Salman Taseer and many others, whereas when a christian is falsely accused of blasphamy the whole town is persecuted e.g. Badami Bagh, Shanti Nagar, Gojra, Mehrabad etc.
    Only 6 out of 8 witnesses changed their statement but what about those 2 who did not change and hold to the version which goes against Chishti and according to Penal Code of Pakistan it should be enough to keep on the “sentence” or investigation.

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  • Aug 17, 2013 - 10:38PM

    If a woman is spoiled, she becomes a prostitute, if a man is spoiled he becomes a moulvi – this was the proverb during our school days.

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  • haroon
    Aug 18, 2013 - 12:19AM

    ET desperately wants to report that injustice was done in favor of the cleric. I just want to know if ET was present in every court hearing and if they know exactly whether the second statement given by the witnesses was wrong whereas the first one was right?

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  • Insaan
    Aug 18, 2013 - 12:43AM

    @sunsand: And I also condemn the preacher for using the masjid loudspeaker to spread hatered and movig people to kill and burn others.

    This Mullah is any agent of RAW, CIA or MOSSAD. A true Muslim will never do that.

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  • csmann
    Aug 18, 2013 - 12:49AM

    @Prof. Shahid Mobeen:
    It is most dangerous when the devil gets a hold on a “religious person”. Then they will resort to bigotry,hate,lying to corner their kill.The girl was lucky to have escaped the clutches of a corrupt culture.

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  • Parvez
    Aug 18, 2013 - 1:00AM

    It is shameful. Innocent accused of blasphemy are murdered. The actual accused is acquitted. The blasphemy laws are black laws. Salman Taseer shaheed was absolutely right.

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  • Parvez
    Aug 18, 2013 - 1:02AM

    The hand of KSA can not be ruled out…………..Mr. Nawaz Sharif the people of Pakistan hope you know what you’re doing.

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  • Raj - USA
    Aug 18, 2013 - 1:16AM

    BTW, the Chief Justice has kept Asia Bibi still in jail, that too under solitary confinement on the pretext that other prisoners may kill her.

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  • Wizarat
    Aug 18, 2013 - 1:43AM

    Some one from Pakistan told me that the only way the police is willing to fight these terrorists is to have a go at them and then in police muqabla anything could happen and that seems to be where Pakistani can get justice, it is not the courts.

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  • Ehsan Ullah
    Aug 18, 2013 - 3:55PM

    Corrupt judicail system.. Why do they wait to let people force witness to change their statements, why our judicial system is always so weak to make judgement against terrorist???

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  • A. Etchen
    Aug 19, 2013 - 4:36AM

    For the follies of subordinates, heads must be held responsible. Seeing gross systemic errors, either they should take steps to correct them or resign. For all the miscarriages of justice in the cases of persecution of non-Muslims, the Chief Justice must be held responsible. He should accept responsibility on his own. All the judges of the Supreme Court should also take collective responsibility and stop this breakdown of the justice system. They should also withdraw lisences from those lawyers who sign statements asking clemency for killers in the name of blasphemy.

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  • Aug 19, 2013 - 9:41PM

    The CJ should order retrial of the case if he is interested in carrying out justice at all.

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