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Action requested: Release minor Christian girl accused of blasphemy

August 27, 2012

HRCP appeal: Release minor Christian girl accused of blasphemy

Description of the situation:

Rimsha, a minor Christian girl, was arrested from Mehraabad, on the outskirts of Islamabad on the charge of blasphemy on August 16 and sent to Adyala jail in Rawalpindi on a 14-day remand.

She is accused of burning pages of Holy Quran. According to some reports she was carrying a shopping bag to dispose of used pages when she was stopped by someone who asked her to show what she was carrying. Burnt pages of Holy Quran were allegedly found in the bag. Local clerics alerted. A charged mob gathered outside the Rimsha’s house soon after. According to the police, she has been taken into protective custody for her own safety. Rimsha’s family and other Christians have fled from the area in order to save their lives.

This charge of blasphemy against a child, who is reported to be aged between 11 and 16 years old and suffering from a mental illness, is beyond comprehension.

This is not the first time in Pakistan that a charge of blasphemy has been followed by intimidation and mobs trying to take matters into their own hands. Blasphemy laws have been misused against religious minorities and unfounded allegations have led to violent attacks against them causing not only loss of life and property but also great fear and intimidation.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Pakistan urging them:

  1. To immediately release and provide protection to Rimsha, her family and to the Christian community that has fled the area;   
  2. To take all appropriate measures to ensure that all religious minorities particularly Christians  feel secure;
  3. To take stern actions against miscreant who tried to instigate violence against non-Muslim citizens.

We urge you to write letters to the following (with copies to HRCP at: hrcp@hrcp-web.org)

Kindly address:

Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
President’s Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 922 1422, 4768/ 920 1893 or 1835

Email: publicmail@president.gov.pk

Raja Pervez Ashraf
Prime Minister
Prime Minister’s House
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 922 1596
Tel: +92 51 920 6111
E-mail: secretary@cabinet. gov.pk

Federal Minister for Human Rights
Ministry of Human Rights
Old US Aid building
Ata Turk Avenue
G-5, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51-9204108
Email: sarfraz_yousuf@yahoo.com

Dr. Faqir Hussain
Registrar
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Constitution Avenue, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: + 92 51 9213452
E-mail: mail@supremecourt.gov.pk>

Mr. Rehman Malik
Minister for Interior
R Block Pak Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Tel: +92 51 9212026
Fax: +92 51 9202624
E-mail: interior.complaintcell@gmail.com

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