News / Asia

Christian Pakistani Accused of Blasphemy Out on Bail

Sharon Behn
A Pakistani judge has freed on bail a young Christian girl accused of blasphemy.  While lawyers declared the decision a victory for justice, Christians from her village are still too scared to go home.

Supporters of 14-year-old Rimsha Masih, believed to be mentally impaired, gathered outside the courtroom to wait for the news.
 
Masih has spent three weeks in jail.  Her release, lawyer Raja Akram Amin said, showed the justice system in Pakistan worked.
 
“The investigating lawyer is also a Muslim, so he said she is a victim, so you can see the degree of fairness and transparency, we believe in the judicial system, our judicial system is very independent,” Amin said.
 
Masih was arrested after a mob gathered outside her house here, accusing her of burning pages of the Quran.
 
Terrified, her family and other Christian families have fled.  Under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, defacing the Quran carries the death penalty.
 
Religious advocate Sajid Ishaq, a Christian, as well as Muslim clerics, led the call for Masih’s release.  Ishaq says he hopes this interfaith cooperation will continue.
 
“I think we can prevent such cases in the future,” Ishaq said.
 
But others are not optimistic.  Scared for their lives, Christians who left their village are hiding in this Islamabad slum.
 
Masih’s parents have reportedly taken refuge in the German embassy.
 
Mumtaz Masih, who is not related to Rimsha Masih, ran away with his family.  He does not think young Rimsha is safe.
 
“She is not safe here.  These people are going to kill her.  They did not spare us, what are they going to do to her?,” Masih said.
 
He doesn’t feel safe either.
 
“We are also afraid and we don’t want to go back to our neighborhood,” Masih said.
 
Those accused of blasphemy have been killed by mobs before.  Christians are only about 5 percent of the population in Pakistan, and tend to be among the poorest.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: kafantaris from: USA
September 08, 2012 5:16 PM
Seeing the pious Pakistanis enforce antiquated blasphemy laws in the 21st century should give us pause.
Reflecting that the same Pakistanis have threatened to use their country's nuclear bomb on their populous neighbor should interrupt our sleep.
Why then are we preoccupied only with the prospect of a nuclear Iran?

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 07, 2012 2:15 PM
Pakistan remains one of the worst human rights violators in the world. Pakistan has laws on papers to impress the outside world but there exists no justice system. Most of Pakistan depend on tribal champions who at best are judges of the jungle-justice system which oversees the execution of the blasphemy law. The principle of separation of powers is a decoration of textbooks to show Pakistan as belonging to the comity of nations, but its laws are best known for their overdose of sedatives - it's comatose or in coma . Thus intelligence exists but cannot see beyond its nose; the military exists but defense is assigned to Taliban, al qaida, haqqani and other tribal champions. And the bail granted is a window dressing: it's going to be like Sadam Hussein's welcome party to his son-in-law who had been judged guilty for opposing Sadam - their god - and if you don't remember, he was picked in unrecognizable pieces the next morning. Pakistan should assure the Christians that this is not going to be the case, any more.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More