Christians from the north meet MP Andrew Stephenson.
British Pakistani Christians challenged UK MP's to intervene on behalf of Rimsha Masih. Invited to a meeting on 28th August 2012, with MP for Pendle Andrew Stephenson, Wilson Chowdhry questioned him on how the UK could help the Rimsha Masih an 11 year old victim of the notorious Blasphemy Laws of Pakistan.
Rimsha Masih had to undergo a medical examination before Pakistan's authorities would accept she had Down Syndrome and was a minor. Her parents are adamant she is only 11 years old, but early reports from the police, other authorities and the Imam that laid the original charge against her alleged she was 16. Medical analysis has placed her age between 13 - 14yrs, which has resulted in her relocation today into a juvenile detention centre. The accusing Imam still refutes the medical evidence supporting her status as a minor.
Christian families from her home town of Mehrabad have had to flee into a nearby forest that was uninhabited. Trees have been chopped down to use as building materials. Makeshift homes and a nascent church building have been erected. No police protection or aid assistance has been offered to people living in this area bereft of facilities and services such as electricity and water. The leader of the community, a local church pastor has called for peace. Local authorities have stated it is safe for the community to return to their homes, yet threats are still being directed towards the community from local Muslims. Many living in the forest have already said that they would prefer to settle permanently in the forest and are refusing to return home,evidently fearful of reprisals.
MP Andrew Stephenson received pictures and letters from children aged between 4 - 11, all calling for freedom for Rimsha Masih and justice to be served. On one letter by Hannah Chowdhry she wrote;
"Rimsha Masih needs her mummy and Daddy, please bring them back together."
MP Andrew Stephenson has agreed to speak to the Foreign Secretary Alistair Burt to see how Britain can intervene. He expressed great sorrow and outrage at the manner in which Rimsha has been treated.
Wilson Chowdhry of the BPCA said;
"Britain and other Western nations need to engage in dialogue with Pakistan to ensure justice for this vulnerable young girl, whose mental illness means that she simply could not have meant any harm in her actions. This whole incident seem contrived and now innocent people are suffering. Young children have drawn pictures depicting Rimsha's maltreatment. One image of Rimsha crying in prison and an angel in heaven shedding tears for her, highlight her innocence and the injustice of her imprisonment. I hope that the image will induce pressure for her release."