Policemen stand guard outside a court room in Islamabad, Sept 2, 2012. — Photo by Reuters

KARACHI: The Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday welcomed a court’s decision granting bail to Rimsha Masih, a Christian girl accused of blasphemy.

“Human Rights Watch welcomes the court decision to release Rimsha on bail and urges Pakistan’s government to ensure her security and safety upon release,” the Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

Masih, whose arrest last month angered religious and secular groups worldwide, may be in danger if she is set free and stays in Pakistan.

“The fact is that this child should not have been behind bars at all. All charges against her should be dropped and Pakistan’s criminal justice system should instead concentrate on holding her accuser accountable for inciting violence against the child and members of the local Christian community,” the statement said.

Earlier, police had detained a local cleric on suspicion of planting evidence to frame her.

“Human Rights Watch hopes that the blatant abuse that has come to light in this case will lead to a considered re-examination of the law and all stake-holders in Pakistan will actively seek to end frequent abuses perpetrated under cover of blasphemy allegations,” the HRW said.

Judge Muhammad Azam Khan today ordered the release of Masih, who was arrested in a poor Islamabad suburb on Aug 18 accused of burning papers containing verses from the holy Quran.

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Comments (23)

September 7, 2012 11:37 am
our faith is not shaken because someone does not like muslims or they are blasphemous I believe everyone has a right to say things good or bad but not be punished at the same time i believe in freedom of relegion and speech and may Allah help us in being a tolerant society
September 7, 2012 11:55 pm
May this child now be safe from the fanatics and may the courts hand down the harshest punishment to the Imam that actually did this crime. May Allah bless you Rimsha.
September 7, 2012 11:32 am
this maulvi needs to be given an exemplary punishment, one that ensures no one will dare do anything like this again.
Kashif Chohan
September 7, 2012 2:00 pm
Unfortunately insanity in running as mob believing they are acting to fulfil Allah's will has made line between right and wrong completely blurred for the people of Pakistan. That is the reason similar mind sets had burnt the insane man (Malang) alive in July and they don't want to hear or think for a while that how their acts are defaming the Pakistan and every Pakistani around the world due to these Barbaric acts.
September 7, 2012 11:07 am
Thank God!
Irfan Ahmed Meer
September 7, 2012 9:51 am
Is there any basis of still maintaing charges against her?
Kashif Chohan
September 7, 2012 9:40 am
May she be kept safe from hands of freaks.
Hasnain Haque
September 7, 2012 8:23 pm
Mr Taseer the answer is simple, you are dealing with Pakistanis here. Majority of the population is illiterate, corrupt and ignorant. They claim to be Muslims but know very little about Islam and they are in denial about their failings. The handful of educated and elite are simply too busy looting and have no morals or values. I hope you like the answer?
September 7, 2012 11:16 pm
The whole world is watching Pakistan now.
Mohammad Ijaz
September 7, 2012 10:03 pm
Allah, won't help unless you help your self and help fellow human beings and use common sense which differentiate us humans from animals.
Mohammad Ijaz
September 7, 2012 9:49 pm
@taseerali. you are absolutely correct. Some one has to clean-up lots animals in the society. I don't know how but that's the only way the nation can survive.
Hasnain Haque
September 7, 2012 8:28 pm
Yes logically but you are talking about Pakistan here, since when logic, justice and common sense was used in Pakistan?
September 7, 2012 4:47 pm
I do not understand blasphemy. Is it message or the medium that is important. Sooner or later holy Koran will be in digital form. If you delete the file, did you commit blasphemy? Over centuries many copies of Koran have been published, are they all accounted for?
September 7, 2012 9:17 am
For GOD sake!! Rimsha is a 14 year child, mentally ill; unable to know what is she doing or the consequences of burning Quran Majeed. I'm a Muslim and my religion speaks of common sense, even if she did that, she cant (Should not) be held accountable. Again i'm no liberal, i love my religion and its teh closest thing to my heart, but please justify if a person is not in his/her senses how can we question about Burning pages of Quran. Give me an answer??
September 8, 2012 3:21 am
Thanks God! This is sign of justice done by supreme court. I further plea to the court to ensure her safety and security of life and entire christian community.
September 7, 2012 2:41 pm
i am very happy for this unfortunate girl that she has been granted a bail,we can understand its very sensitive issue,but extensive debate has to initiated by Pakistani govt,media and civil society in order to scrap this law in future,it is increasingly becoming a tool in the hands of extremist elements to persecute minorities. Democratic secular Pakistan is in the best interest of its people!
shamma parveen
September 7, 2012 12:44 pm
at last some sense prevailed ,civil society and govt of pak should arrange for bail amt and give full protection to Rimshas family. If she is not safe in pak i would like india to grant her asylum
Gerry D'Cunha
September 7, 2012 2:28 pm
Taseerali: your comments does make sense to a sane person - what do one do with the majority intolerance and insane people in pakistan.
September 7, 2012 2:34 pm
good decision, now complete the justice by punishing the maulvi and making him as a lesson for future
September 7, 2012 10:27 am
Surely, logically thinking, there is no basis for her charges, but, it appears that the Pakistani justice system is so wiard, and the way how it is used is so absurb, that one wonders whether this poor, inncoent minor child will ever again be totally free, and given justice. Her and her family's life is destroyed in any case by now, knowing how revenge is used in the Pakistani society. This is so sad from pure human rights' point of view, nothing to do with religion.
September 7, 2012 6:47 pm
Judge has set Rs.500,000 bail on two counts. Looks like judge is also blind to facts that this girl is not going anywhere and she does not have that much money. A clear cse of Andher Nagri Chowpat Raja.
September 7, 2012 6:58 pm
You don't understand my dear. You may love your religion but now we are talking about law. The law say anyone burning pages of Quran will be punished by death. Molvi has burned the pages. So hang him. But on the other side law is made to suppress minorities. Has any leader come up and say this is wrong. They are scared. Judge also seem to be afraid of loosing his skin. Why did he even left her out on bail? Why not dismiss her case and start proceedings on Molvi. Of all thething \there has been no proof that this girl burnt the pages from Quran. How did Quran pages come into dirt. If someone can put pages in dirt so what is the difference to burn it?
Naseem Akhter
September 7, 2012 9:57 am
Good decision
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