Pakistan dismisses blasphemy case against Christian girl

ISLAMABAD Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:09pm IST

Security officials surrounding Rimsha Masih, (C, green scarf) a Christian girl accused of blasphemy, move her to a helicopter after her release from Adyala jail in Rawalpindi September 8, 2012.REUTERS/Stringer

Security officials surrounding Rimsha Masih, (C, green scarf) a Christian girl accused of blasphemy, move her to a helicopter after her release from Adyala jail in Rawalpindi September 8, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers ride their camels as they rehearse for the "Beating the Retreat" ceremony in New Delhi January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

"Beating The Retreat" Rehearsals

Rehearsals are on for "Beating the Retreat" ceremony which symbolises retreat after a day on the battlefield, and marks the official end of the Republic Day celebrations.  Slideshow 

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A Pakistani court dismissed on Tuesday a blasphemy case against a Christian girl which had drawn international condemnation and concern about the rights of religious minorities in the predominantly Muslim country.

Rimsha Masih, believed to be no older than 14, was charged with burning pages of the Koran in August but was granted bail in September after a cleric was detained on suspicion of planting evidence to stir up resentment against Christians.

Masih's lawyer, Tahir Naveed, said the Islamabad High Court's decision to throw out the case was based on the fact that no one had seen her burning pages of the Koran.

The case provoked international concern and she could, in theory, have faced execution under Pakistan's blasphemy law despite her age and reported mental problems.

Muslims consider the Koran the literal word of God and treat each book with deep reverence. Desecration is considered one of the worst forms of blasphemy.

The blasphemy law enjoys widespread support among ordinary Pakistanis even though critics say it is often abused by people involved in disputes or against members of religious minorities.

Over the past two years, two senior government officials who had suggested reform of the law were shot dead, one by his own bodyguard. Lawyers threw rose petals at the killer and the judge who convicted him was forced to flee the country.

The number of blasphemy cases brought under the law is rising. Since 1987, there have been almost 250 cases, according to the Center for Research and Security Studies think-tank.

Convictions are common, although the death sentence has never been carried out. Most convictions are thrown out on appeal but mobs often take the law into their own hands.

The think-tank said 52 people had been killed after being accused of blasphemy since 1990. (Reporting by Mubasher Bukhari; Editing by Robert Birsel)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Reuters Showcase

Vodafone Ruling

Vodafone Ruling

Government will not appeal Vodafone tax ruling   Full Article 

Indian Railways

Indian Railways

Private refiners compete with state firm to sell diesel to railways   Full Article 

Ranbaxy Results

Ranbaxy Results

Dec-quarter net loss widens on forex loss  Full Article 

Market Eye

Market Eye

Sensex, Nifty retreat from record highs on profit-taking.  Full Article 

Tech Talk

Tech Talk

Apple takes high road in China smartphone standoff with Xiaomi.  Full Article 

Business Strategy

Business Strategy

Uber scraps commissions for its New Delhi taxis.  Full Article 

Job Cuts

Job Cuts

Sony to cut 1,000 jobs in smartphone business - sources.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage