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Police escort blindfolded cleric Khalid Jadoon Chishti as he is brought before a judge at a court in Islamabad, Sept 2, 2012. — Photo by Reuters

ISLAMABAD: District and Sessions Judge Islamabad Raja Jawwad Abbas on Wednesday reserved his judgment on the post-arrest bail application of Khalid Jadoon, the prayer leader of Mehra Jaffer mosque who had been accused of altering the evidence against blasphemy accused Rimsha Masih, DawnNews reported.

The judge would issue a ruling on the bail application on Oct 11.

During today's hearing, Jadoon's counsel Syed Wajid Ali Gillani said that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had issued a restraining order against Rimsha’s trial (until Oct 17), but not against granting bail to his client.

Moreover, Rao Abdul Rahim, the counsel for Hammad Malik, the prime accuser in the blasphemy case against Rimsha, and district attorney Islamabad, Mehfooz Paracha, also said that no restraining order had been issued against granting bail to Jadoon.

Furthermore, the judge recommended the petitioner to consult with the IHC over details on the restraining order against Rimsha's trial.

The judge, after hearing the counsels' arguments, reserved his judgment on the bail application. The decision is to be issued on Oct 11.

Police had arrested Jadoon on Sept 1 after Hafiz Zubair, a member of the Mehra Jaffer mosque, had accused him of altering the evidence against Rimsha.

On Oct 1, three prosecution witnesses — Qari Owais, Khurram Shehzad and Danish —backtracked from their earlier statements in which they had endorsed Zubair’s statement.

And recording the witnesses’ earlier statements and the competition of the preliminary investigation, Jadoon had been declared the main accused in the first challan submitted to the sessions court.

Rimsha Masih case

Rimsha was arrested on Aug 18 under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Her case gained huge attention because of the girl’s age and questions about her mental capacity.

On Sept 7, the additional district and sessions court of Islamabad had granted bail to the Rimsha. Later on Sept 8, she 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.

Rimsha’s arrest, under the blasphemy laws, 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.

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