Pak blasphemy row: witnesses backtrack on testimony | world | Hindustan Times
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Pak blasphemy row: witnesses backtrack on testimony

In a startling development in the Rimsha Masih case, three witnesses who had testified against prayer leader Khalid Jadoon Chishti for levelling blasphemy allegations against the minor backtracked from their statements, saying the police forced them to do it.

world Updated: Oct 02, 2012 00:14 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

In a startling development in the Rimsha Masih case, three witnesses who had testified against prayer leader Khalid Jadoon Chishti for levelling blasphemy allegations against the minor backtracked from their statements, saying the police forced them to do it.

The witnesses, including the mosque’s muezzin Hafiz Zubair and Hafiz Awais and Khurram Shahzad, who endorsed Zubair’s statement, submitted a sworn statement on Monday before a district and sessions court in Islamabad.

In September, the police had submitted an interim charge sheet in the case in which they held that Chishti was responsible for the alleged blasphemy in which 14-year-old Rimsha was initially accused.

The police had given a clean chit to Rimsha after recording the statement of Hafiz Zubair who stated that he had seen Chisthi putting pages of the prayer book in the belongings of Rimsha Masih.

Earlier, investigation officer Munir Jaffery had said his investigations showed that the family of Rimsha used firewood and paper to light their cooking stove but this did not include any prayer book pages. He had let Rimsha off the hook. But the police’s charge sheet was challenged by the district attorney, Mehfooz Piracha, who alleged that the police were falsely implicating the mosque imam.