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  • » 09/01/2012, 00.00


    Pakistan, Rimsha Masih bail hearing adjourned

    Shafique Khokhar

    The Islamabad court will decide on bail for disabled Christian girl accused of blasphemy on September 3. The National Commission for Justice and Peace reopens the debate on education in Pakistan and denounces: in Punjab and Sindh 2012-2013, textbooks filled with hatred and false history against Hindus, Christians and people of India.

    Islamabad (AsiaNews) - The bail hearing for Rimsha Masih, the Christian disabled girl arrested for blasphemy has once again been adjourned. Scheduled for today, this morning the court of Islamabad in charge of the proceedings postponed the next bail hearing to September 3. The decision follows a day after the extension of her period of pre-trial detention (14 days which ended yesterday, ed).

    According to the charges brought against her, Rimsha was in possession of a few pages of a damaged book, containing verses from the Koran. According to Pakistan's blasphemy laws, the girl faces up to life in prison. However, the defense ordered a medical report, which certified her condition as a minor (about 13 years of age) and mental disability. The prosecution, however, has disputed the results of the medical committee.

    Meanwhile, the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) has re-launched its appeal to the government to tackle the issue of education in Pakistan, and therefore has organized a conference which was attended by about 200 people, including teachers, activists , intellectuals and Christian and Muslim religious leaders. According to Peter Jacob, executive director of NCJP, "we must work to remove contents of hatred and religious intolerance towards minorities from textbooks. These are issues that, over the years, have resulted in the migration of the Hindu community. And recently, the arrest of the small girl Rimsha Masih ".

    A study published by NCJP, Taleem Nafrattki Aabiyari Ya (Educate or breed hatred), reveals that 22 textbooks for primary and secondary school, which will be adopted in the school year 2012-2013 in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh, contain 55 chapters "rich" in insults against Hindus, Christians and India, in addition to obvious distortions of historical facts.

    For Mehdi Hasan, a Muslim academic, "Islamic studies should not be taught in schools, moreover [textbooks] should never talk about any belief in a negative way. But now, religion has penetrated so deeply into our minds, that we have started calling trees and roads with names of the Koran. "

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    See also

    16/01/2013 PAKISTAN
    Supreme Court upholds Rinsha Masih's innocence, Paul Batthi satisfied
    Pakistan's highest court rejects prosecutors' appeal. For the Christian girl's lawyers, the verdict "sends out a positive image of Pakistan". Paul Bhatti tells AsiaNews that they did not flee but placed their faith in the justice system.

    20/11/2012 PAKISTAN
    Pakistani Christians happy about Rimsha Masih verdict, Islamists talk about "manipulation"
    For the bishop of Islamabad, the ruling is a "great development." Now a law to end blasphemy abuses is needed. A Lahore priest sees the decision as a legal milestone. Islamists however are angered, blaming the government for putting pressures on the court.

    17/10/2012 PAKISTAN
    Rimsha Masih's trial adjourned to 14 November as anti-Christian violence continues
    The High Court in Islamabad delays the trial before deciding whether to drop the blasphemy charges or not. The girl's lawyers want the case thrown out of court. In Karachi, a mob of extremists attack St Francis Catholic Church. In Faisalabad, Christians praying for Malala Yousafzai come under attack.

    13/09/2012 PAKISTAN
    Rimsha Masih trial adjourned. Bishop of Islamabad calls for her acquittal
    This morning the judges adjourned the session allowing more time for the investigators to conclude and submit their report. The defendant was not present in court for security reasons. Her fate is linked to the case against the imam who falsified evidence, the first hearing scheduled for September 16.

    30/08/2012 PAKISTAN
    For Islamists, no "sympathy" for Rimsha Masih who must be judged "according to the law"
    A Muslim legal expert says it is wrong to "take sides" for the girl who must be punished if she is guilty. "Let us pray for Rimsha and her family," says Islamabad bishop. The government should use the case as "an example" and take the "right measures" to stop abuses, he adds. Fears remain for the fate of 600 Christian families that fled their homes.

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