Skooter reporting 09/03/12
A Pakistani cleric was in custody Sunday on suspicion of tampering evidence and vandalized the Koran. The cleric is the same man who accused a young Christian girl of blasphemy in a case that triggered international worry.
Since being arrested in the poor Islamabad suburb of Mehrabad, Rimsha, has been in jail for more than two weeks ago. She was accused of burning papers containing verses from the Koran, in violation of Pakistani’s strict blasphemy laws.
In a medical report last week, it said the girl had a mental age of less than 14 and her case has encouraged concern among Western governments and anger from rights groups who say Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws is often abused to settle personal gains. It was reported that Rimsha has “Down’s Syndrome”.
The imam of the mosque in Rinsha’s area, Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti, who first gave police the burnt papers as evidence against the girl, was apprehended by police on Saturday evening.
Police investigator Munir Hussain Jaffri said the imam was under arrest after his deputy Maulvi Zubair and two others squelled to a magistrate that he added pages from the Koran to the burnt pages brought to him by a witness. Zubair, Mohammad Shahzad and Awais Ahmed, said they had told Chishti not to meddle with the papers, Jaffri said. But Chishti said this is the only way to get rid of the Christians from the area.
Chishti thought Rimsha had burned the pages intentionally as part of a Christian “conspiracy” to insult Muslims, and measures should have been taken sooner to stop what he termed their “anti-Islam activities” in Mehrabad. By altering the burnt pages Chishti also committed desecration of the Holy Koran and is being charged with blasphemy, Jaffri said.
Chishti was blindfolded and handcuffed and closely guarded by police commandos when he arrived in court on Sunday. He was placed in custody for 14 days and will be detained at the same jail as Rimsha. But Chishti insisted that the charges against him were “fictional”.
About 150 Christians and rights activists held a protest march in Rawalpindi calling for Rimsha's release Sunday.