Poll: Should Blasphemy Laws be Taken off the Books?

Please read the ongoing developments in Pakistan in CNN and other newspapers and opine on the issue.  Click on the picture to participate in the poll:

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — Pakistani police say a Muslim cleric planted evidence to link a Christian girl to blasphemy — a new twist in a case that has fanned flames of religious tension in the country and attracted worldwide interest.

The latest development may make it easier for the girl, 14-year-old Rimsha, to be released on bail at her next court hearing. And it could yield charges of desecration of the Quran for the cleric, Khalid Jadoon Chishti, police said.

Police arrested Rimsha last month after a neighbor accused her of burning pages containing texts from the Muslim holy book, the Quran.

Rimsha had two shopping bags with her: one containing ashes and the other, the partially burned pages, police said. She had gathered the paper as fuel for cooking, authorities said.

Even though Rimsha’s lawyer said no one actually saw the girl burning the papers, the neighbor went to Chishti — the neighborhood cleric — with the bags for safekeeping as evidence.

Chishti wasn’t certain that simply burning pages with texts from the Quran would be enough to convict Rimsha on blasphemy charges, said Munir Jaffery, the investigation officer in the case.

So, the imam added two pages from the holy book itself to the bag to bolster the case, Jaffery said.

Police arrested Chishti on Saturday after three witnesses told a judge about the imam’s actions.

He was sent to jail for 14 days, accused of evidence tampering. Police are now looking into whether Chishti should also be charged with desecrating the Quran and, therefore, blasphemy, said Islamabad police spokesman Naeem Iqbal.

Chishti has denied the allegation, authorities said.

Insulting Islam provokes widespread and immediate reaction in Pakistan, a predominantly Muslim nation. Its controversial blasphemy law makes the crime punishable by death. Critics have said the legislation is being used to entrap minorities.

Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer, who criticized the law, was shot to death by his security guard last year. A Pakistani court then suspended the guard’s death sentence. Read further in CNN.

Source: Dawn

The cleric who was arrested on Saturday over suspicion of planting evidence against a Christian girl accused of blasphemy was produced in court on Sunday under strict security arrangements as the hearing for the blasphemy case resumed, DawnNews reported.

Imam Khalid Jadoon was produced in the court of Duty Magistrate, Judge Nasar Minallah Baloch.

Islamabad police had submitted an application to the court requesting for the remand of Khalid Jadoon.

The court remanded Jadoon into judicial custody for 14 days and ordered that the accused be produced in court after the expiry of the remand.

Read More in Dawn.

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3 replies

  1. Reporting from BBC

    A Pakistani imam has been remanded in custody, accused of planting pages of the Koran among burnt pages in the bag of a Christian girl held for blasphemy.

    The girl was detained two weeks ago near the capital Islamabad after an angry mob demanded she be punished.

    Prosecutors say Imam Khalid Chishti will himself face charges of blasphemy.

    The girl, named as Rimsha, is said to be about 14 and to have learning difficulties.

    Imam Khalid Chishti allegedly told a witness, after tampering with the girl’s bag, that this was a “way of getting rid of Christians”, a prosecutor said.

    The case has sparked international condemnation.

    Earlier this week, a court extended Rimsha’s detention at a maximum-security prison by a further two weeks.


  2. The whole thing around this case of the 11 year old girl involved in this game of the “mullah”, and now the counter attack by some “anti-mullah” forces, trying to send one “mullah” to the expected “death penalty” on charges of “blasphemy”, indicates that the showdown on this issue is coming to to its stages.

    What is PPPs interest in this? If the PPP can do away with this “draconian law” – Blasphemy Law, it will have an election slogan in the coming elections. By bringing in one “imam of the mosque” as the main culprit in this issue, it has managed to divide the “religious lobby” and the so called Ullemas in Pakistan, isolating in one go the Jama’at-e-Islami (JI) and voices like Gen Hamid Gul and his Defence of Pakistan Committee. And in a way this will also force Imran Khan and others on the border line to take a stand on this issue.

    It is going to be a “litmus test” for the “liberals” and centrist political parties in Pakistan – PPP, ANP, MQM specially. PML(N) is very much for the “Blasphemy Law”.

    The outcome of this issue will also determine the future of Pakistan and Pakistanis as a nation. Will this nation state gets dumped by the “mullah” or is able to dump the “mullah” and with that the “Taliban and his Jihadi associates” once and for all.

    The coming days will unfold many more dramas in the Land of the Pure – Pakistan.


  3. Thank you Munir Varraich for describing the political landscape of Pakistan.

    I hear that Khalid Jadoon,himself, will be tried under blasphemy laws. This is perhaps the wise thing to do. If he added the Quranic or other religious pages to be burnt, he was himself committing the crime that he was framing the girl for. Additionally, the Holy Quran also at times suggests the principle of tit for tat. Here please focus on the principle of reciprocation, rather than on other details:

    The adulteress and the adulterer (or the fornicatress and the fornicator) — flog each one of them with a hundred stripes. And let not pity for the twain take hold of you in executing the judgment of Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment. … The adulteress and the adulterer (or the fornicatress and the fornicator) — flog each one of them with a hundred stripes. And let not pity for the twain take hold of you in executing the judgment of Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment. Except those who repent thereafter and make amends, for truly Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful. (Al Quran 24:3-6)


    And the recompense of an injury is an injury the like thereof; but whoso forgives and his act brings about reformation, his reward is with Allah. Surely, He loves not the wrongdoers. (Al Quran 42:41)


    O ye who believe! equitable retaliation in the matter of the slain is prescribed for you: the free man for the free man, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But if one is granted any remission by one’s brother, then pursuing the matter for the realization of the blood money shall be done with fairness and the murderer shall pay him the blood money in a handsome manner. This is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. And whoso transgresses thereafter, for him there shall be a grievous punishment. And there is life for you in the law of retaliation, O men of understanding, that you may enjoy security.(Al Quran 2:179-180)

    In the case under discussion the ‘blood money’ would be the Mullahs agreeing to the repeal of the Blasphemy laws. Otherwise, they keep providing reasons to charge their leadership with the same laws that they propose for others. They should be given a taste of their own medicine. This is the only suitable “retaliation,” in which is the security of Pakistani nation, O men of understanding.

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