A Legal Breakthrough in Pakistan

November 27, 2012

From Human Rights First:

It’s been called “historic,” “groundbreaking,” and a “milestone in Pakistani history.”

And it was.

Last week the Islamabad High Court dropped the blasphemy case against 14 year old Rimsha Masih who was arrested last August. She was facing life imprisonment after being accused of burning pages of the Quran. Her arrest led to mob violence from angry protesters. Direct threats were waged against her, forcing her into hiding.

In a positive, albeit infrequent move, the Chief Justice of the Court Iqbal Hameed ur Rahman affirmed that there was no evidence for the charges made against Rimsha Masih. In his 15-page judgment, he questioned the widespread practice of blasphemy accusations inPakistan. He warned followers of Islam to be careful “while leveling such allegations against anyone.”

In a country where any talk of blasphemy is toxic, and people who speak out against abuses of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws – not least judges, human rights lawyers and journalists – risk their lives, this was an extraordinary act of bravery and intellectual integrity.

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