ISLAMABAD – Islamabad police on Saturday told a court that the young Christian girl, Rimsha, who spent three weeks in jail for allegedly committing blasphemy, was not guilty and the cleric who allegedly framed her should face trial instead, according to a copy of the revised charge-sheet.
Investigating officer Munir Jafri said police could not find any evidence against Rimsha Masih, thought to be 14, who was accused in August of burning pages from the Holy Quran.
In the charge-sheet, the police claim that the cleric of a nearby mosque, Mohammad Khalid Chishti, was guilty of tampering with evidence by adding holy pages into a shopping bag the girl had been carrying. “We have also told the court that there are witnesses and evidence against the local imam for framing a false blasphemy case against Rimsha,” Jafri told AFP.
Judge Ghulam Abbas Shah adjourned the case till Monday (tomorrow) to decide on whether Imam Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti, who was arrested for allegedly adding pages from the Quran to a bag of burnt paper, should face trial.
The evidence is now being sent to a forensic science laboratory in Lahore for further examination.
The Islamabad police submitted the charge-sheet Saturday in the court of district and sessions judge Islamabad Raja Jawad Abbas. The case could not be heard as civil judge, Amir Aziz Khan, who had been hearing the case, was on leave. The district attorney, moreover, raised objections on certain points in the charge-sheet. He later signed the charge-sheet along with his note of objections.
The district attorney observed: “Had Khalid Chishti burnt the Holy Quran, prior to adding them in the evidence, he could be declared accused under 196 PPC.”
According to the charge-sheet, no witness has as yet identified the place where Rimsha had allegedly burnt the holy papers.
The police also claim that, in reality, it was Rimsha’s six year old younger sister Savera who had come to throw the garbage in front of the house of one Maqbool Ahmed. This account has been testified by two witnesses.
The police are also accusing the complainant of hiding the actual facts from the police.
The police investigation further states that the burnt holy papers were first seen by Mehreen Noor, Maqbool’s daughter, who had told the same to her mother. The burnt pile of papers was then sent to the cleric Mohammad Khalid Chishti through Mehreen Noor.
The police also says that Chishti is “an educated person and knows religion and the sanctity of the Holy Quran.”
Moreover, the police accuse Chishti of deliberately tearing two papers from the Holy Quran to add them into the pile of burnt papers, and preparing a false testimony. Chishti had also signed the testimony as a witness.
The police report further claims that Rimsha, a minor Christian girl, is illiterate and her mental age is not according to her actual age, which is 14.
Rao Abdur Rahim, the counsel for Rimsha’s neighbour Hammad Malik who had accused her along with Chishti, said he was not satisfied with the police report.
“This report is based on the bad intentions of the investigators and is made to prove Rimsha innocent. But, I will fight the case and make her face trial,” he told AFP.
Rimsha and her family, who fear for life after the blasphemy charges, were moved to an undisclosed location since her release on bail on September 8.
The final police report backs earlier revelations and is likely to bolster the defence’s plans to have the entire case thrown out.