In other words, give us this girl’s blood, and if you refuse, we will take it anyway. “Pakistan blasphemy case: ‘Muslims could take law into their own hands,'” by Saeed Shah in the Guardian, August 30 (thanks to Kenneth):
A lawyer representing the man who accused a Pakistani Christian girl of blasphemy has claimed that if she is not convicted, Muslims could “take the law into their own hands”.
Rao Abdur Raheem, who appeared in court for the first time at a bail hearing on Tuesday, cited the example of Mumtaz Qadri, the man who last year gunned down a senior politician who had called for the reform of the much-abused blasphemy law.
The lawyer’s comments are likely to further complicate a bitterly contentious case which has caused international outcry and embarrassed the Pakistani government.
The girl, Rimsha Masih, whose family says she is 11, was arrested earlier this month and charged with desecrating the Qur’an after a neighbour, Malik Hammad, claimed that he saw her with burnt pages of the holy text in a bag she was carrying.
Her family had hoped that she would be granted bail on Thursday after a medical report this week found that she was a minor — thus eligible for bail — and has learning difficulties. But those hopes were dashed when Raheem challenged the report in court and the hearing was postponed.
According to Raheem, the medical report on Masih was illegal, as it followed the orders of a civil servant and not the court, and went beyond its remit of determining her age. He accused the government of supporting her and manipulating court proceedings.
Speaking outside the Islamabad court after the hearing, Raheem said: “There are many Mumtaz Qadris in this country “¦ This (medical) report has been managed by the state, state agencies and the accused.”
Later, sitting in his office beneath a large poster of Qadri, Raheem told the Guardian: “If the court is not allowed to do its work, because the state is helping the accused, then the public has no other option except to take the law into their own hands.”
Last year, many lawyers rallied around Qadri, who had killed Punjab governor Salman Taseer in public, showering him with rose petals when he first appeared in court. Raheem said he had taken on the case for free because he was convinced that Masih should be punished.
“This girl is guilty. If the state overrides the court, then God will get a person to do the job,” said Raheem. “There is so much evidence against her, a reasonable court is not in a position to find her not guilty.”
It remains unclear why the accuser suspected Masih and how he saw inside the bag that she was apparently carrying. Also unclear is whether any burnt pages were actually from the Qur’an or another book that contained religious verses….