IHC_File_670
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.

Opinion

Elite privileges
20 Apr 2021

Elite privileges

Elite bargains provide a powerful view of our political economy.
A conjurer of limitless hope
20 Apr 2021

A conjurer of limitless hope

Rehman Sahib came across as a battle-scarred soldier who was perpetually planning to regroup after a setback.
Cabinet lotto
Updated 20 Apr 2021

Cabinet lotto

To return to finance, the second change in the key ministry is interesting for how it differs from the first.
Election ex machina
Updated 19 Apr 2021

Election ex machina

Neither EVMs nor i-voting are new innovations, yet their use remains deeply controversial.

Editorial

Media blackout
Updated 20 Apr 2021

Media blackout

A free flow of information is the best way to counter rumour-mongering and fake news.
20 Apr 2021

Gas utilities’ reluctance

THE government has ‘ordered’ state-owned gas companies SSGC and SNGPL to remove impediments hampering the...
20 Apr 2021

Saudi-Iran talks

EVER since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, ties between Tehran and Riyadh have been increasingly strained,...
19 Apr 2021

Vaccine shortfall

THE hope that the slew of Covid-19 vaccinations approved for use since the end of last year would vanquish the ...
Another package
Updated 19 Apr 2021

Another package

Sindh has not seen much development worth the name during the PPP’s more than decade-long rule in the province.
19 Apr 2021

Cricket triumph

TEAM Pakistan have a number of reasons to rejoice after their 3-1 T20 series win over hosts South Africa on Friday....