23 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

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





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


» 11/20/2012 10:23
PAKISTAN
Paul Bhatti: the acquittal of Rimsha Masih, an important "precedent" in blasphemy cases
The Catholic minister speaks of "double satisfaction": the verdict states that the law cannot be used "for personal use" and whoever calumniates "will suffer a similar trial." The congratulations and satisfaction of Christian leaders and Muslim personalities. The case will be used to revise not the law, but its interpretation. "I'm optimistic", he says, "the society is changing."

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - The verdict of acquittal for Rimsha Masih, the Catholic minor with mental problems, indicted for blasphemy, is cause for "double satisfaction". First, the event constitutes "an important precedent" whereby the law "cannot be used for personal purposes." In addition, those who "unjustly" accuse other people "themselves risk a trial and penalties" under the Pakistan Penal Code. This is what the Catholic Paul Bhatti told AsiaNews; Bhatti is the Special Adviser to the Prime Minister for National Harmony, and does not hide his satisfaction at the positive outcome of the event involving the girl. However, in this moment of joy for the religious minority, he does not spare criticism of those (including Christians) who exploit blasphemy cases for personal gain, to raise money and funding especially abroad.

Today the High Court in Islamabad - after several updates and suspensions of the sessions - finally acquitted the 14 year old Catholic Rimsha Masih (see AsiaNews 11/20/12Islamabad: the charge of blasphemy dismissed for Rimsha Masih, a disabled Christian girl) of the charge of violating the "black law", archiving the case because the crime never occurred. Instead, the proceedings against Imam Khalid Jadoon Chishti continue; Chishti slandered the minor in order to obtain the expulsion of the Christian community and to seize their goods and property. The story had prompted international concern due to the girl's young age and the manipulation of blasphemy charges.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Paul Bhatti, brother of the Minister for Minorities Shahbaz, massacred by Islamic fundamentalists with 30 gunshots in March 2011 for having defended Asia Bibi, another Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, does not hide his "happiness and joy". "It is not a victory", the special adviser for National Harmony immediately explained, "it is just one element of justice that carries a great message: those who use the law for personal purposes have been defeated; and to this there is added the certainty that those who make false charges are likely to suffer the same fate and be tried."

The Catholic politician and ranking minister explained that he had handled the affair "in order to control protests or demonstrations by Christians," as opposed to what had occurred several times in the past; the street demonstrations "exacerbated the minds of Muslims, making things worse". In this case, he underlined, "I asked for further investigations, avoiding public protests" and with the cooperation of government and police forces, "we got a satisfactory result." At the same time, he wished to dedicate this first verdict to his brother Shahbaz Bhatti: "I followed his method", said Paul, "and his experience", which are proving to be fundamental in daily work.

He also tells of the messages of congratulation "from many Christian personalities," along with phone calls and shows of appreciation and congratulations "from just as many Muslims." "They, too", the minister confirmed, "sought to express joy and closeness to the acquittal of Rimsha Masih" who is now in a safe place, along with the rest of her family. The story, Bhatti concluded, will not lead to a "revision" of the law, but constitutes a "precedent" to improve the "interpretation" of cases and events of blasphemy. A group of imams, ulema and Muslim religious leaders have confirmed that they have established a working group, called to introduce those adjustments that will prevent abuses. I am optimistic: Pakistani society is changing; peace and stability in Pakistan are fundamental also for the rest of the world."(DS) 

 

 


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
11/20/2012 PAKISTAN
Islamabad: blasphemy charge dismissed for Rimsha Masih, the disabled Christian girl
01/16/2013 PAKISTAN
Supreme Court upholds Rinsha Masih's innocence, Paul Batthi satisfied
09/01/2012 PAKISTAN
Pakistan, Rimsha Masih bail hearing adjourned
by Shafique Khokhar
11/20/2012 PAKISTAN
Pakistani Christians happy about Rimsha Masih verdict, Islamists talk about "manipulation"
by Jibran Khan
10/17/2012 PAKISTAN
Rimsha Masih's trial adjourned to 14 November as anti-Christian violence continues

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.

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.