Rimsha Witnesses backtrack their statements against Khalid Jadoon

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In what appeared to be a shocking turn-around, three witnesses who had testified against Qari Khalid Jadoon for leveling blasphemy allegations against Christian girl Rimsha Masih backtracked from their statements.

In a statement submitted to a District and Sessions Court in Islamabad, they claimed that they were forced by the police to do so.

The witnesses including the mosque’s muezzin Hafiz Zubair, Hafiz Awais and Khurram Shahzad submitted a sworn statement, saying that the police had tortured them and made them give statement against the prayer leader.

Earlier, police officials investigating the case had submitted an interim charge-sheet to the trail court, declaring Khalid Jadoon Chisti guilty.

He was accused of adding pages from the Quran to ashes seized from 14-year-old Rimsha to implicate her and was sent to jail on a 14-day judicial remand by the judicial magistrate hearing the case on September 2, 2012.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday extended the stay on blasphemy trial against Rimsha Masih till October 17.

IHC Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman resumed hearing of a petition seeking nullification of an FIR registered against Christian girl, Rimsha on blasphemy charges.

During today’s hearing, a representative of the prosecution lawyer told the court that the lawyer was not present in Islamabad and subsequently requested the bench for more time.

Earlier on Sept 28, the IHC Chief Justice had stayed the blasphemy trial of the minor Christian girl in order to first hear on Oct 1 her petition for quashing the FIR registered against her.

The assistant judicial registrar had informed the court that the petitioner had not submitted the special messenger’s fee. The court then passed the order and had adjourned the case till October 1.

On September 24, Rimsha’s case was sent to a juvenile court after a medical report established that she was 14 years old. The girl was arrested on August 16 for allegedly burning a primer, a booklet used to familiarise children with Arabic as written in the Holy Quran.

The Ramna Police Station had registered a case against her after a restless mob led by a cleric assembled outside the station.