A cleric who submitted evidence against a Christian girl accused of blasphemy has been arrested on suspicion of evidence-tampering and desecrating the Quran, police said Sunday.
"The imam was arrested after his deputy Maulvi Zubair and two others told a magistrate he added pages from the Quran to the burnt pages brought to him by a witness," police investigator Munir Hussain Jaffri said.
Zubair and the two others, Mohammad Shahzad and Awais Ahmed, told police they had urged Chishti not to interfere with the papers, Jaffri said.
"They protested that he should not add something to the evidence and he should give the evidence to the police as he got it and should not do this," Jaffri said.
On August 24 Chishti told AFP he thought Rimsha had burned the pages deliberately as part of a Christian "conspiracy" to insult Muslims, and said action should have been taken sooner to stop what he called their "anti-Islam activities" in Mehrabad.
Jaffri said the cleric was arrested at his home on Saturday under the blasphemy law.
"By putting these pages in the ashes he also committed desecration of the Holy Quran and he is being charged with blasphemy," he said.
Chishti, who arrived at court on Sunday blindfolded and handcuffed and guarded by armed police commandos, was remanded in custody for 14 days and will be held at the same jail as Rimsha.
Speaking to reporters, Chishti said the allegations against him were "concocted".
Rao Abdur Raheem, the lawyer for Rimsha's accuser, her neighbour Hammad Malik, said the development was intended to "spoil" his case.
A medical report earlier this week said Rimsha appeared to be around 14 years old, which would make her a minor, and had a mental age below her true age, but the court has yet to decide whether to accept the assessment.