TORONTO: A Pakistani Christian girl, who was jailed for allegedly blaspheming the Quran but later acquitted by the Islamabad High Court (IHC), has landed in Canada with her family ostensibly to seek asylum.
Rishma Masih, 14, and her family are said to be at an undisclosed location in the Toronto area, according Peter Bhatti who himslf is a Christian immigrant from Pakistan and helps fellow Christians from Pakistan to seek asylum in this country.
Bhatti is the brother of the slain Pakistani minister Shahbaz Bhatti who was killed by Islamic fanatics for seeking repeal of the blasphemy laws.
Previous reports had said that Rishma’s family had fled to Norway.
But according to Peter Bhatti, the Masih family landed secretly in Canada a few weeks ago.
The young Christian girl was arrested and held in jail for three weeks in August 2012 for allegedly burning a few pages of the Quran in Islamabad’s suburb of Mehrabadi.
But it turned out that a Muslim cleric falsely implicated her to rouse anger against the local Christian community so that Christians are compelled to leave his village.
However, the Islamabad high court threw out the case against the Christian girl and declared her innocent.
The court said that since no one had seen Rimsha setting the verses of the Quran on fire, she couldn’t be held guilty under blasphemy laws.
However, since there have been cases in Pakistan where persons acquitted in blasphemy cases have killed by mobs and fanatics, those acquitted are never safe and tend to disappear.
Blasphemy laws in Pakistan are the creation of military dictator Zia ul-Haq who started the Islamization of all state institutions, including the judiciary.