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11-year-old Pak girl arrested for blasphemy

Islamabad, Aug. 18 (PTI): An 11-year-old Christian girl has been arrested in Islamabad on a blasphemy charge after she was accused of burning pages of the Quran, police said today.

Ramna police station officials said an FIR had been registered against Rimsha Masih, a resident of Umara Jaffar in Sector G-12, Islamabad.

The girl was arrested on Friday after a man named Syed Muhammad Ummad filed a complaint against her.

However, an NGO called Christians in Pakistan reported on its website that the girl has Down’s Syndrome and had been falsely accused of burning 10 pages of the Quran.

The NGO said other Christians living in Sector G-12 had been “threatened by extremists” who wanted to burn down their homes on Friday. It said some 300 people had left their homes and were in hiding because of the threats.

The All Pakistan Minorities’ Alliance (APMA) is providing assistance to the people who had fled their homes. National harmony minister Paul Bhatti, who is also the APMA chairman, has contacted Islamic clerics and police to bring the situation under control.

Rights activists have urged the government to reform or repeal the blasphemy law which they say is misused to persecute minorities like Christians.

Bhatti’s brother Shahbaz, who was the minister for minority affairs, was gunned down by extremists in Islamabad in March last year after he called for the repeal of the blasphemy law.

 
 
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