Efforts afoot for release of 11-year old Christian girl charged, detained for ‘blasphemy’
According to this report in the Christians in Pakistan website, an eleven year old Pakistani Christian girl has been falsely accused of burning ten pages of the Quran. The report says that 11 year old Rimsha, who has Downs syndrome, was “arrested” on August 17 by the women police station (FIR no 303/12 at 6:45 pm), on a complaint registered by one Alsyed Muhammad Ummad. However reports that she was actually arrested are unconfirmed.
Various parliamentarians are working to resolve this issue, which as advocate Rafay Alam in Lahore points out, is not simply one of ‘intolerance’ but the “collapse of the system”. “This is beyond blasphemy law. For an arrest, an FIR has to be filed; investigation has to be conducted by a senior officer,” he says.
We believe that an investigation will probably reveal links of the complainant with those fanatical organisations that have for long been taking forward this agenda of registering ‘blasphemy’ cases at the drop of a hat.
According to the report, Christian community is being threatened by extremists wanting to burn down the village and some three hundred people have left their homes and gone into hiding due to these threats.
On the positive side, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Religious Harmony Dr. Paul Bhatti (brother of the Shahbaz Bhatti Shaheed) along with APMA members has so far controlled the situation by reporting the incident to the police and dialoguing with the Islamic clerics separately, who have so far agreed so far not to attack.