News / Asia

Pakistan Clerics Want Impartial Blasphemy Probe for Minor

Local women walk past locked house of Christian girl in a suburb of Islamabad, Aug. 20, 2012.
Local women walk past locked house of Christian girl in a suburb of Islamabad, Aug. 20, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
The lawyer for a Pakistani Christian girl accused of blasphemy says she is a minor and that her case will likely be heard in a juvenile court.
 
The girl, Rimsha Masih, was taken into custody earlier this month after angry neighbors surrounded her house in Islamabad and accused her of burning pages inscribed with verses from the Quran. Some say she was burning papers from the garbage for cooking. Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan.
 
On Tuesday, her attorney, Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, said a medical board has determined that the girl is 14 years old, but mentally younger than that. He told reporters in Islamabad that as a minor, Masih can be tried in the juvenile justice system.
 
Chaudhry said a bail hearing has been scheduled for Thursday.
 
Also Tuesday, the head of Pakistan's leading group of Muslim clerics called for an impartial investigation into the girl's case.
 
Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, the chairman of the All Pakistan Ulema Council, told reporters that "if she is innocent or suffering from Down's Syndrome, then the people of the administration who arrested her and those elements who [helped to promote phony charges]" should be punished.
 
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has taken "serious note" of the girl's detention and called for a report on her arrest.
 
Human rights activists say the blasphemy law in Pakistan has been used to harass religious minorities and settle personal scores.  Amnesty International last week called on the government to urgently reform its blasphemy laws and protect Masih and her family against possible intimidation or attack.
 
Last year, Pakistan's Minister of Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian member of the federal Cabinet, was gunned down in Islamabad. And Punjab province's governor, Salman Taseer, was killed by one of his bodyguards for opposing the controversial blasphemy law.
 
Christians are the largest non-Muslim religious minority in Pakistan, making up about 5 percent of the population.
 
The United States has called Masih's case "deeply disturbing" and urged Pakistan's government to protect not just its religious minority citizens, but also women and girls.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 266 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 28, 2012 12:39 PM
This is not about whether she is minor or whatever, what the world is speaking out about is the repeal or abrogation of that obnoxious blasphemy law. It is anti-human and does not represent laws of the 21st century. It is barbaric and prehistoric and should be relegated to antiquity. It represents a god that has no power, no wisdom, no vision and no intelligence. If this so-called god of the muslims is not going to wake up, why should people defend it? Pray and let your god defend you not you defending paper and stones: unless that's what you worship. People should not be converted by force; that's conscription, kidnapping. The strongest Christians even in the scriptures are those converted by God Himself who convinces them. But a god without foresight conscripts converts, brainwashes and turns them to zombie to fight for him. We all are created by God who is all loving, all caring, all powerful and all knowing, and the day the muslims realize that God needs no help from man to do His things, they will find out that they have been in the wrong place.

In Response

by: Selvan from: India
August 29, 2012 1:26 AM
Right now, in the whole word, who kills more people in the name of religion? In Pakistan, if those people doing namaaz are killed in the name of religion and shariat, how will the minorities be spared?

In Response

by: Muslim from: India
August 28, 2012 1:24 PM
I don't really know what is the reality in this case. But what i see that mostly All non Muslim countries behavior is very much worse with the Muslims in comparison to the behavior with non muslims in Muslim countries. America, Nato, Israel they all do not need to show the world any evidence for not to arrest a muslim but even to kill the Muslims in a large no. If any american soldier, citizen commits any crime they say that he was mentally ill. but if any Muslim commits any crime personally then not only he is called a terrorist but................. Why ???????????


by: Selvan from: India
August 28, 2012 11:09 AM
It is amazing that muslims do not give even fundamental rights to minorities living in muslim majority nations. At the same time they claim all rights in other nations where other faith in majority.


by: Muhammad from: USA
August 28, 2012 10:38 AM
As usual these fringe extreme groups make the rest of us have to hide in shame!

In Response

by: John from: German
August 29, 2012 11:53 PM
The terrible thing for the Muslim is : they insist everything they do is absolutely right, while anything others do is completely wrong.

In Response

by: Srikanth from: Bangalore
August 28, 2012 1:52 PM
Exaclty said Mr Muhammed.In every religion such extreme inhuman groups exists, defaming and creating a sense of fear among other communities.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid