A view of Islamabad High Court (IHC). — File Photo

ISLAMABAD:Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday threw out all charges against a Christian girl accused of blasphemy in a case that drew international condemnation, lawyers said.

During the hearing, IHC Chief Justice, Iqbal hameedur Rehman ordered the police to dismiss the FIR filed against the girl.

The chief justice said that the girl was accused of burning papers from the Quran, however, since there were no witnesses thus the FIR was ordered dismissed.

Rimsha Masih spent three weeks on remand in an adult jail after she was arrested on August 16 for allegedly burning pages from the Quran in a case that prompted worldwide condemnation.

She was arrested after a resident of Mehra Jaffer, the area where the girl also belonged to, Malik Ummad lodged a complaint with the Ramna police against her accusing her of burning the pages of the holy book.

Abdul Hameed Rana, the counsel for the accused, had filed a petition in this regard on September 25. The girl was, however, released on September 7 on Rs1 million surety bonds  and police have since told the courts that she was not guilty and that a cleric who allegedly framed her should face trial instead.

“The court has quashed the case, declaring Rimsha innocent,” her lawyer Akmal Bhatti told AFP.

Cleric Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti, who first gave police the burned papers as evidence against her, was detained on September 1 for desecrating the Quran and tampering with evidence.

An official medical report classified Rimsha as “uneducated” and aged 14, but with a mental age younger than her years. Others have said she is as young as 11 and suffers from Down's syndrome.

Paul Bhatti, the only Christian member of Pakistan's federal cabinet, confirmed that the case had been thrown out by the high court in the capital Islamabad.

“I welcome this order. Justice has been done and the law of the land has been upheld by the court,” he told AFP.

“It will send out a positive image of Pakistan in the international community that there is justice for all and that society has risen up for justice and tolerance,” he added.

Rimsha and her family, who have been in fear for their lives since the allegations, were moved to an undisclosed location after her release on bail on September 8.

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Comments (22)

November 20, 2012 6:08 am
Looks like Pakistani are learning slowly but surely from India - what Democracy means????
Gerry D'Cunha
November 20, 2012 9:45 am
hats off to 'IHC' - hats off to judiciary - hats off to all those involved in bringing justice to this innocent girl and hats off to our country pakistan in the eyes of the world today.
November 20, 2012 10:23 am
Is that so?Why then did the police then arrest a girl for her posting on Facebook regarding the Bal tachkery fellow?It was just a simple posting questioning the shutdown of Mumbai.
November 20, 2012 9:26 am
Very Good news from Pakistan after long long time.
Cyrus Howell
November 20, 2012 8:03 am
The gentlest people in the world are children with Down's Syndrome. They do not have a mean bone in their bodies.
November 21, 2012 9:05 am
I see rather than giving the opinion on the verdict and the circumstances led to the poor girls arrest and subsequent remanding in Adult jail, there is spontaneous attitude to cover up this issue with issues happening elsewhere which is no were related to false allegations/accusations/misusing.
November 20, 2012 9:11 am
lol where girls get arrested for commentng against bal thakrey on facebook? lolol yeah so much for your freedm of speech in an 'indian democracy' *snort
November 20, 2012 11:07 am
the decision is worth appreciation but it is not enough, the people nehind this whole drama must be brought to justice. people do not want to kill or die in the name of someone's insane beliefs.
November 20, 2012 6:42 am
Malik Ummad & Ramna police, need Physiatric evaluation.
Muhammad Ashraf
November 20, 2012 12:42 pm
Anyone can fabricate some thng to drag someone in some law. It doesn't mean that law is wrong or needs to be amended, instead false fabricator should be punished accordingly.
November 20, 2012 10:34 am
The blasphemy law has been on the books from the British days. The answer is not to remove it but to AMEND it so that it is not misused.
Mansoor Sajid
November 20, 2012 7:19 am
This is a decision worth appreciation. I hope Parliament would also join hands to review the blasphemy law ensuring that its not misuse by the extremist elements. As a Muslim we love and respect our religion and must follow and obey it in true letter and spirit. Blasphemy law in its current format is open to misuse and therefore needs to be ring-fenced in order to avoiding making a mockery of our religion through its misuse.
November 20, 2012 8:35 am
A very condescending comment... especially after arrest of 2 innocent girls for protesting Mumbai shutdown on Bal Thakeray's death.
Raoul Ciao
November 20, 2012 11:36 am
that is truly amazing. The judiciary acted on such a serious issue of Blasphemy with clear action and voice ! Leaving no room for any frther "conspiracy theories". Hope something like this canhappen in the trial of the accused of killing the Guv of Punjab soon. In stark contrast, in "secular" India, they jailed 2 young girls, a Hindu and a Muslim for comments on facebook ! because they believed the comments were against a national leader !! Pakistan shows improvement, and India seems to be stooping lower !!!
November 21, 2012 7:43 pm
It is inevitable in a free society where you have freedom people like thackrey will rise. That is true democracy! You should remember prabhakaran and Tamils were annihilated in srilanka! It's just that Indians are as gullible as any and like Turkies vote for Christmas and elect Mafiosi,goo da's and corrupt as their leaders.
November 20, 2012 1:41 pm
danial tariq
November 20, 2012 9:56 am
yeaaa Maulvi's insult...wow
November 20, 2012 9:36 am
True test of Law is what will be done of Cleric Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chisht. He is the criminal who got this poor girl into trouble in the first place. Will he be made an example of?
November 20, 2012 10:13 am
Bold people like this Islamabad judge who uphold the law above anything else are the people who will help build a new society in Pakistan, be it pressure from ill informed uneducated crowds who have taken over the landscape. The mullah who planted the false evidence should be taken to task. I commend the court's decision. An innocent girl was harassed and jailed for no reason, just because some one wanted to run down a minority. It is shameful how bad we treat our small minorities anyway. It's time to practice things that the Prophet (pbuh) taught us, time to look within, that is called jihad.
Mustafa Razavi
November 20, 2012 8:23 am
Manghirmalani; India itself should learn what democracy means from truly democratic nations lik Sri Lanka or Turkey. You would know you are there when you stop producing people like Narindera Modi and Bal Thackeray.
November 20, 2012 9:35 am
Blasphemy laws are not needed and should be removed from the books by the parliament as early as possible. Islam has stood the test of time, and will survive without our support. Rimsha's case is a typical eaxample of blasphemy laws abuse. It was madness on the part of complainer and the police who dragged the innocent christian girl into this horror. It also shows how sensless and cruel Pakistani people can be.
November 20, 2012 10:28 am
Hope that IHC or SC ensure punishment of those who fabricated false accusations against this poor girl, this will be the real justice and good news for the country.
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