Date: September 1, 2012
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
LAHORE (ANS) -- There's an encouraging development likely to end the ordeal of a 14-year-old Christian girl charged under the blasphemy law and allow her to be released from jail on bail.
According to a story by Pakistan Today, a witness has claimed that the cleric who played a major role in framing charges of burning pages of the Holy Quran on the girl fabricated the evidence by placing Quranic pages in the ash brought to him by the complainant.
imam Khalid Jadoon
Recording his statement before a magistrate in Islamabad on Saturday, Hafiz Zubair said he and two other people were present in the mosque for Aitekaf. That was when Malik Ammad, the complainant in the case, came to the mosque's imam Khalid Jadoon with a plastic bag that he claimed contained the ashes of a Noorani Qaida allegedly burnt by Rimsha.
Zubair said Jadoon brought some pages of the Holy Quran from inside the mosque and mixed them with the ash.
"I asked Jadoon why he was fabricating the evidence. He said that this would ensure a strong case against the girl and would ultimately help them in evicting the Christians from the locality," said Azhar.
Pakistan Today said he added that the other two people present in the mosque at that time had also asked the imam not to place false evidence against the girl.
Commenting on the development, Rimsha's lawyer Tahir Naveed Chaudhry told Pakistan Today that Azhar's statement proved that the case against the minor girl was fabricated.
"Jadoon and Ammad concocted the evidence and they should be booked on the same charge that they had leveled against the girl," he said.
Pakistan Ulema Council Chairman Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi also condemned the imam for implicating a minor girl in a false case.
"The revelation proves our stance that the case against the girl was fabricated. The government should take immediate notice of this revelation and should give exemplary punishment to the perpetrators of the crime to ensure that the law is not misused against any person," Pakistan Today reported he said.
Earlier in the day, Judge Muhammad Azam Khan adjourned the hearing of the case until Monday. He asked police to investigate a bail application made on Rimsha's behalf after prosecutors claimed paperwork had not been signed by the girl or her mother.
Pakistan Today said speaking to reporters outside the court, Rimsha's lawyer Tahir Naveed Chaudhry accused prosecutors and lawyers of using delaying tactics.