A local cleric who triggered a global outcry by accusing a mentally-challenged Christian teenage girl of blasphemy was set free by a trial court on Saturday for want of evidence.
Khalid Jadoon Chishti was accused of desecrating the Holy Quran to concoct evidence against 14-year-old Rimsha Masih, a resident of a Christian slum in suburban Islamabad.
The court didn’t find any incriminating evidence against Chishti, District and Sessions Judge Raja Jawad Abbas said while acquitting the cleric.
Chishti, the peshimam at a mosque in Mehrabadi slum, had accused Rimsha, who is reportedly suffering from Down’s syndrome, of burning pages from the Holy Quran in August 2012. The local police had registered a case against her and she was subsequently detained for three weeks in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail.
The teenage girl was, however, declared innocent by the Islamabad High Court.
During the trial, the witnesses went back on their statements, telling the court that the police had ‘coerced’ them into testifying against Chishti. The case was pending before the court since October 2012, while the cleric was on bail.
After the acquittal of his Chishti his attorney Advocate Syed Wajid Gilani told The Express Tribune outside the court that the ruling was a ‘victory of truth’. In June 30, 2013, CBC News Canada reported Rimsha has been living in Canada for a few weeks.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2013.