Maulvi Chisti originally accused of tampering with evidence.
In a devastating turn of events in the case of Rimsha Masih, all three witnesses that testified against Imam Khalid Jadoon Chisti for allegedly tearing shreds of the Koran and inserting them into the juveniles bag have backtracked on their initial statements and have withdrawn them from court.
Thre witnesses have all stated today (1st October 2012) that they were coerced into testifying by writing and under oath, in an attempt to derail the prosecution against Rimsha Masih and to condemn Imam Chisti.
Meanwhile, the Judge in presiding over today's hearing in Islamabad High Court has now extended the stay on Rimsha Masih's trial until the 17th October. Originally her defence lawyers were seeking an acquittal today. Learn more here: http://britishpakistanichristian.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/rimsha-masihs-case.html
This revelation is causing huge uproar amongst an easily led population of Pakistan, and extremists already incensed by the anti-Islam Movie that has already caused huge violent riots in Pakistan, look set to target Christians for a series of violent attacks.
The anti-Islam movie has caused public fury in Pakistan which has resulted in venomous aggression towards Christians, seen a as an easy target for revenge. A church was razed to the ground and 27 homes looted and levelled in an attack on a Christian community in Mardan, nuns who helped initiate and joined the first protest against the anti-Islam movie in a show of solidarity - where shot at and their driver injured, A pastor has been beaten and told that all Christians will suffer a similar fate for the movie. This new unsavoury news looks set to stir up local pogroms against the innocent Christian families of Pakistan.
That all three witnesses have turned back on their original statements is a symbol of the supine nature of these men. They initially stood bravely to condemn the actions of a rogue Imam and have now created a hornets nest of hatred towards the very Christians, they initially chose to protect. Images of the three witness show no visible marks of coercion i.e. no bruises or cuts, and the fact that they initially chose to accuse the Imam should see them prosecuted under section 199 of the Pakistan Penal Code for falsifying evidence. Yet we at the BPCA are sure neither of these noticeable facts will be acted upon - making it easy for the withdrawal to take place without consequence or regard to justice.
Wilson Chowdhry chairperson for the BPCA said;
"News of this withdrawal will embitter Muslims against Christians who though completely innocent, will be targetted by extremists. In previous instances Police have failed to react to localized riots and skirmishes that have led to major attacks on defenceless communities. Pakistani Authorities need to ensure that security services are in constant communication with key Christian figures, so that rapid deployment of resources can prevent incident escalation."
"This is an anxiety-ridden time to be a Christian in the Islamic world, no more so than in Pakistan and I call on humanitarians of all faiths and diversities to pray for peace and to call for stronger protection for these victims via the Pakistani authorities."
This news will impact significantly on the families that have returned to Rimsha's village, despite requests for relocation due to the daily intimidation and attacks they are facing. They desperately need help for food and other provisions as they have in the main been removed from their employment in a cynical attempt to disenfranchise this community. Read more here:
Families from Rimsha Masih's home town are continually threatened, are jobless and still require assistance. Please continue to call and pray for compensation and a restoration of peace for these families.
The BPCA would appreciate any further donations towards the daily needs of these families, who are in need of a lot more support. If you believe someone you know would be willing to contribute please send this request to them.
If you would like to contribute to this "Rimsha Masih Fund" (Please use the fund name as a reference) you can pay in several ways;
Firstly by using the PayPal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog. Just click the yellow oval with the words donate and follow instructions.
You can also send your contributions by cheque payable to;
British Pakistani Christian Association.
Address : British Pakistani Christian Association
57 Green Lane
Alternatively should you wish you can pay by BACS, direct debit or standing order by paying into the following account details:
Sort Code: 20-67-90Account Number: 63468976