Islamabad, Sept. 25: An editorial in a Pakistani daily has said politicians, police and courts in the country need to start treating those who make false accusations of blasphemy with the same toughness which they currently reserve for child minorities.
The editorial in The Express Tribune said this in reference to the recent case where a minor Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, was falsely accused of committing blasphemy by allegedly burning pages of the Holy Quran. Rimsha was arrested on August 16 and was released weeks later, and moved to an undisclosed location.
The editorial said that as news stories about the violence sparked by the anti-Islam film abound, there is a danger that the plight of Rimsha will be relegated to the inside pages. Rimsha was released on bail when it emerged that her accuser may have planted the evidence. Bail, however, is not the same as complete exoneration, which is exactly what Rimsha deserves, it said.
Now that the police have submitted a written statement to the court declaring that she is innocent and it was a set-up by cleric Khalid Jadoon Chishti, the judge needs to do the right thing and dismiss the case against Rimsha as being frivolous and unfounded. Then, Chishti needs to face trial for falsely accusing this helpless girl and probably putting her life in danger, it further said.
The idea of going on trial for Rimsha pales in comparison to the dangers she will likely face should she go back to her home. Those accused of blasphemy have often been targeted by enraged mobs and seldom found security thereafter. Rimsha’s best shot at a normal life lies in a foreign country. Pakistan is no place to live even for those who have merely been accused without any basis of offending religious sentiments. It is now the government’s job to provide her with foolproof security and arrange for her safe passage out of Pakistan, the editorial said.
Ideally, the next step taken by the government would be to repeal the blasphemy laws but that is simply not possible in the current climate. Instead, the laws need to be balanced a bit by making the punishment for false accusations tougher, it concluded. (ANI)