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Khalid Jadoon files petition in IHC over bail clarification

October 05, 2012

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: Khalid Jadoon, the prayer leader of Mehra Jaffer mosque who had been accused of altering the evidence against blasphemy accused Rimsha Masih, on Friday filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) pertaining to his bail proceedings in the court of district and sessions judge Islamabad Raja Jawwad Abbas, DawnNews reported.

The petition filed by Jadoon's counsel Syed Wajid Ali Gilani sought clarification of the IHC's restraining order pertaining to the trial of minor Christian girl Rimsha Masih.

The petition requested to court to clarify whether the restraining order also applied to Jadoon's bail plea which was heard in the court of judge Jawwad Abbas. The judge had stopped the proceedings on the bail petition on Oct 3.

The IHC registrar's office objected to Jadoon's petition saying Jadoon was not a respondent in the petition calling for the quashing of the FIR registered against Masih.

Gilani said his client was not granted bail due to the IHC’s restraining order and that he would clarify the matter once the petition was admitted for hearing in the court.

On Oct 3, judge Jawwad Abbas had observed that since the IHC had issued a restraining order and had directed to maintain the status quo in the case, therefore, he could not proceed with Jadoon's bail application.

The judge had said that in case the IHC clarified that the restraining order was not affecting the bail petition in the same matter, then he would be ready to proceed with the matter.

The judge had adjourned the hearing to Oct 11.

Jadoon's arrest

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

Masih 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.