2 September, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 11/20/2012
PAKISTAN
Pakistani Christians happy about Rimsha Masih verdict, Islamists talk about "manipulation"
by Jibran Khan
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.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Most Pakistanis have welcomed the court's decision to drop charges against Rimsha Masih. Christian and Muslims have praised the court for its decision, a "great development" according to Islamabad Bishop Mgr Rufin Anthony. However, Islamist extremists cannot hide their anger at the ruling, and accuse the government of putting pressures on the court to get the sentence it wanted.

The Islamabad High Court today, citing a lack of evidence, threw out all charges against Rimsha Masih, the 14-year-old Catholic girl accused of breaking the 'black law'. The case against Khalid Jadoon Chishti, the imam who falsely accused the girl in order to provoke the expulsion of Christians to seize their goods, homes and assets, was not however dismissed.

When it broke out, the case caused worldwide outcry, given the girl's young age and the clear proof that it was based on manipulation and false testimony.

A "great development," Mgr Rufin Anthony told AsiaNew. With this decision, "We saw the court take a clear stand" despite "huge pressures" from extremist groups.

For the bishop of Islamabad, new, clearer legislation is needed to put a stop to the abuses committed in the name of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. "Minorities have been targeted for far long enough," he explained.

"This is indeed a bold decision," said Fr John Mall, from the Diocese of Lahore (Punjab). In this case, "justice has prevailed."

Now, the clergyman hopes the authorities will do something about the other cases still pending, "especially in central Punjab," where minorities suffer under the joke of discrimination.

Fr James John, from the Diocese of Multan, also hopes to see some changes. "There is a long list of innocent people in jail for blasphemy. They too must be saved. Rimsha has become the symbol of change for Pakistan's minorities."

Not everyone in Pakistan has welcomed the court's decision, especially among extremist groups. Unlike past cases, they are now the ones complaining about undue pressures on the courts.

For example, Maulana Mehfooz Khan, from the Islamic Ideology Council, claims that the "judiciary was pressurised in this decision." In his view, a heavy-handed "government machinery" has had "an effect on witnesses," whose statements were manipulated.

"We have our reservations regarding the decision" he said. "Although we are against the misuse of the blasphemy law, it is unacceptable for the judiciary to be threatened when it has to decide."

Khan's statement is strange to say the least given the fact that until now protests by Muslim fundamentalists have led to arbitrary arrests, summary convictions and extrajudicial murders, all in the name of the 'black law'.

One case to illustrate this involves Asia Bibi, a 46-year-old mother of five. Still on death row three years after her sentence, she is still waiting for the court to hear her appeal because of pressures from extremists who want her dead.

Then there is impunity against prosecution. Many people who took the law in their own hands, individually or in a group, are still at large despite having killed or destroyed property (like in Koriyan and Gojra, in 2009), or stolen assets and properties, all in the name of the blasphemy law, and this owing to the silence, if not the complicity of police and courts.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
09/01/2012 PAKISTAN
Pakistan, Rimsha Masih bail hearing adjourned
by Shafique Khokhar
01/16/2013 PAKISTAN
Supreme Court upholds Rinsha Masih's innocence, Paul Batthi satisfied
10/17/2012 PAKISTAN
Rimsha Masih's trial adjourned to 14 November as anti-Christian violence continues
09/13/2012 PAKISTAN
Rimsha Masih trial adjourned. Bishop of Islamabad calls for her acquittal
by Jibran Khan
08/30/2012 PAKISTAN
For Islamists, no "sympathy" for Rimsha Masih who must be judged "according to the law"

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.