Pakistani Girl Free For Now


Here’s a bit of good news out of Pakistan, where that 11-year old girl who was charged with, and apparently framed for, blasphemy has been released from prison. But the charges have not yet been dropped and she is still at great risk.

A young Christian girl accused of burning pages of Islam’s holy book was freed Saturday from a jail near the capital where she had been held for three weeks, a Pakistani jail official said.

The release a day after a judge granted her bail is another step closer to ending an episode that has focused an uncomfortable spotlight on Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, which can result in life in prison or even death for defendants. Many critics say the laws are misused to wage vendettas or target Pakistan’s vulnerable minorities like the Christians.

I wish the media and everyone else would stop saying that blasphemy laws are being misused when the problem is that they’re being used at all, that they even exist.

The girl’s release came a day after a judge in Islamabad granted bail to the mentally challenged girl, a move hailed by the human right activists and representatives of Pakistan’s minority Christian community. Bail is rarely granted in blasphemy cases, and the decision signals a degree of sympathy that could result in all the charges being dropped.

Let’s hope so, and quickly. And let’s also hope that mob “justice” doesn’t take over from the courts at that point.

Comments

  1. Randomfactor says

    Not necessarily good that she’s out. Mob violence is the likely outcome unless she’s well hidden. As much as I hate the death penalty, I think it’s appropriate for the “cleric” who tried to frame her.

  2. dingojack says

    Ed – “I wish the media and everyone else would stop saying that blasphemy laws are being misused when the problem is that they’re being used at all, that they even exist”.

    And I wish America would end it’s use f the barbaric death penalty like the rest of the civilised world, but as my dear old Mum used to say: ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride’.

    :( Dingo

  3. eric says

    I agree that any sort of blasphemy law is a problem. Having said that, with the fraud thing coming out it does look like this was an attempt to just use the charge to force the christians to leave.

    The blasphemy charge did a good job of riling the local muslim community. But I expect he would’ve just as quickly framed them for cannibalism, pedophilia, or some other riot-inducing crime if he’d thought that would’ve worked better. Blasphemy wasn’t the point: exile was.

  4. Rodney Nelson says

    I do hope the imam who tried to frame her gets a long prison sentence, not for blasphemy but for miscarriage of justice.

  5. busterggi says

    Of course they set her free – this way the mob can kill her and the government deny any connection with her death.

  6. d cwilson says

    Sadly, she was probably safer in jail.

    But I expect he would’ve just as quickly framed them for cannibalism, pedophilia, or some other riot-inducing crime if he’d thought that would’ve worked better.

    Accusations of witchcraft still work in many parts of the world.

  7. Pseudonym says

    I’m of the opinion that “misused” is a technically correct word here, but we should probably avoid it anyway.

    The law against blasphemy should not exist. I think that pretty much everyone agrees on this. However, the law was not created for no reason. It might be a bad (or even an obscene) reason, or an obsolete reason, but a reason nonetheless. This application of the law is a “misuse” relative to that reason. That is, the application is contrary to the intent and spirit of the law.

    Of course, that’s exactly the point. Blasphemy laws, especially in a nation which doesn’t have good track record of respect for the rule of law (which is ironic, considering how deeply ingrained in Islam the history of judisprudence is), are wide open for abuse regardless of the intention behind those laws.

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