Blasphemy case: Complainant’s counsel objects to girl’s absence
ISLAMABAD: A court in Islamabad on Friday heard the case pertaining to Rimsha Masih, a girl who had been accused of blasphemy, DawnNews reported.
During the hearing, Rao Abdul Rahim, the counsel for complainant Hammad Malik, said that the girl was on bail and asked why she did not appear for the hearing.
Rahim said “a prime minister appears before the court upon being summoned but a girl who had been accused of committing blasphemy did not”.
Upon which, the judge, addressing the complainant’s counsel, said that the accused was not as significant as the accusation that had been levelled against her.
Rahim moreover said that the Station House Office (SHO) should have taken action over the non-submission of the challan in the case.
The judge directed authorities to take action against the SHO and the investigation officer over non-submission of the challan.
Rahim requested the judge to send the SHO and the case’s investigation officer to jail.
Upon which, the investigation officer told the court that the case was still developing which was why it was taking time to formulate a challan.
Adjourning the case’s hearing to Sept 17, the judge directed the police to submit the challan until the said date.
Earlier on Sept 7, the additional district and sessions court of Islamabad had granted bail to the girl. Later on Sept 8, Rimsha was airlifted from Adiyala jail to an unspecified location within Islamabad under the protective custody of police after completion of legal formalities by her lawyers.
The girl belonging to the Christian community is said to be suffering from Down’s Syndrome. She had been arrested on Aug 18 under the strict blasphemy laws, prompting concern from Western governments, the Vatican and rights groups.
The girl’s arrest had also triggered an exodus of several hundred Christians from her poor neighbourhood on the edge of Islamabad.
Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive subject in Pakistan, where 97 per cent of the 180 million population are Muslims, and allegations of desecrating the holy Quran or insulting Islam often provoke public fury.
In July, a mob of more than 2,000 snatched a mentally unstable man from a police station, beat him to death and torched his body after he was accused of burning pages from a copy of the holy Quran.