Bail granted in Pakistan blasphemy case

By September 10, 2012

Pakistan (MNN) — Pakistan's blasphemy laws are under scrutiny in light of the latest case against a developmentally disabled Christian girl.

On Friday, a judge in Pakistan granted bail for 14-year-old Rimsha Masih who was accused of burning a religious school book used to teach the Quran to children.

Reports from Voice of the Martyrs Canada and Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) confirm the latest step in her case.

In light of eyewitness testimony that revealed a set-up by an imam at a local mosque, the judge–Justice Muhammad Azam Khan–granted Rimsha's release on a one million rupee ($10,500) bail. At the hearing, according to CSW, lawyers called the blasphemy charge a trick to get up to 400 Christian families evicted from the girl's neighborhood.

Khalid Jadoon Chishti's credibility faltered when proof surfaced that he not only falsified evidence to implicate Rimsha, but also that he had instigated the charge, anti-Christian sentiment, and mob aggression that followed the accusation.

As a result, according to CSW, Chishti now faces blasphemy charges under section 295B of the Pakistan Penal Code, and he remains in custody. Rimsha's case highlights the abuses of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, which critics say are often used to intimidate members of minority groups, like Christians.

Even with bail granted, the Masih family's safety remains in question. There's also a growing call for all charges against Rimsha to be dropped. Human Rights Watch issued a statement on the bail ruling and added, "The fact is: that this child should not have been behind bars at all," the statement read.

If the prosecution continues, Rimsha's trial is not expected to take place for at least several months.

Ask the Lord to use this case to promote religious freedom for all in Pakistan. Pray that Christians in Pakistan will be the light that draws their neighbors to Jesus.

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