The girl, known only as Rimsha, was spotted with some burnt papers in her hand, which allegedly had Urdu writing on them. The 800 Christian resident families of Mehrabad in Pakistan’s capital have long been eyed by real-estate gangs for the strategic location of their residences. The crowd went on a rampage setting torch to Christian homes and forcing Christian families to flee the neighborhood. The girl’s parents are in protective custody.
The Christians in Mehrabad had to flee their homes against mounting fury of the Muslim majority. The officer said, “The mob wanted to burn the girl to give her a lesson.” After all, the girl was a minor, and mentally retarded, and illiterate, so burning her is a vision that would strongly appeal to religious fundamentalists anywhere. They missed their chance, as the police arrested her.
“The Quran has been burnt” is a centuries-old common excuse for providing sham religious sanction to rioting, arson and other crimes directed at non-Muslims in Islamic states. Some readers would recall, that the same cry the “Quran has been burnt” was used a little time ago to kill 7 U.N. soldiers posted in Afghanistan.
The head of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Zora Yusuf said, “It has been exploited by individuals to settle personal scores, to grab land, to violate the rights of non-Muslims, to basically harass them.” Of course, from her position, Zora Yusuf cannot mention the regular rapes, loot, arson and forced conversions carried on in a country, where the doctor who helped CIA spot Osama bin Laden has been sent to 33 years in prison, but no one has yet been arrested for aiding Osama to stay undetected for 7 years in Abottabad.
In the instant case, the Down’s Syndrome-affected girl was illiterate, and no reason has been found why she would be burning the Quran of all things, and neither has it been proved that the burnt papers in her hand belonged to the Islamic holy book.
A police officer involved in the case said the accused girl told the officer that she had no idea there were pages of the Quran inside papers she had burnt for lighting a cooking fire. There is no proof and the police have also suggested that charges against her may be dropped for lack of evidence.
Paul Bhatti, Pakistan’s minister for National Harmony told the BBC, “some local people and a large crowd gathered to demand action against her. The police were initially reluctant to arrest her, but they came under a lot of pressure from a very large crowd, who were threatening to burn down Christian homes.”
Farhatullah Babar, the spokesperson for Pakistan’s president said, “Blasphemy by anyone cannot be condoned but no one will be allowed to misuse blasphemy law for settling personal scores.”