ISLAMABAD - A local court in Islamabad on Friday released the Christian girl accused of blasphemy on bail and asked the parents and police to take great care of the child.
"The court accepts girl's plea and releases her immediately," the judge, Muhammad Azam, told the packed courtroom.
The court released the little Christian girl, Rimsha, against the Rs 500,000 surety bond, after she spent 21 days over the blasphemy charges. The move sent a wave of happiness and relief among the Christian community of Pakistan.
"It was a great decision by the court. Although, police shouldn't have arrested the Rimsha, however, a happy ending of Rimsha's case have made us proud of local courts," Sikandar Masih, a resident of Sector G-6 said while sharing his feeling with TheNation following the court verdict.
Many believe Rimsha and her parents need more security and protection against the extremists who may attack the girl.
"Although she has been released by the court, however, her life could be under threats from the extremists. Hence, she need protection and security," a security official told TheNation.
Earlier, the court on Monday had adjourned hearing of bail plea of Rimsha till Friday due to the lawyers' strike, following a request from the lawyer for Hammad Malik, who filed the original complaint against little Christian girl. The same day, the report of a medical board was presented in the court which stated that Rimsha was 14-year-old and appeared below the chronological age.
The court was told that the report was prepared on the basis of factors including her height, build and teeth.
Rimsha appeared to be uneducated with her mental age below her chronological age, the single-page report stated.
Also on Monday, as the court resumed proceedings, police submitted written statements of two other eyewitnesses, Muhammad Shahzad and Awais Ahmed. They told the court in writing that prayer leader Khalid Chishti added pages from the Quran to the burnt ones brought to him by a witness to make the case strong.
Rimsha was arrested from a poor Islamabad suburb on August 16 and accused of burning papers containing verses from the Holy Quran, in breach of Pakistan's blasphemy laws.
Following the court's verdict, representations of Human Rights Organization spoke highly of the judge who accepted granted the bail.
Many believe that the prayer leader's deputy and two assistants played important role in getting the girl released. The court is all set to adjourn hear of the case against the prayer leader on September 16.
In a statement, the Human Rights Watch, an NGO, welcomed the court decision and urged the government to ensure her security and safety upon release.
"The fact is that this child should not have been behind bars at all. All charges against her should be dropped and Pakistan's criminal justice system should instead concentrate on holding her accuser accountable for inciting violence against the child and members of the local Christian community," the statement added.