ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Friday briefed lawmakers on the Rimsha Masih case and said the accused girl, who was earlier reported to be 11-year-old, was 14-year-old according to medical tests but her mental age was 7- to 8-year-old.
While briefing the Senate on the Rimsha Masih case, Malik made another revelation claiming that the psychiatrist had reported that the girl had not even left her house. The minister said on suspicion, the ashes submitted by Qari Khalid Jadoon, the prayer leader who lodged the FIR against the girl, were analysed and it wax revealed that the ashes were of wood and not of any paper.
Malik said the evidence submitted by Jadoon was also examined and it was found that over the ashes, there were three papers of Namaz Mutrajam which were partially burnt but the written material was safe. Moreover, he added, three pages of Quran were also found which were safe.
He said three affidavits were also submitted with the police by, Hammad and Hafiz Khurram Shahid s/o Malik Dad.
Malik said according to Shahid’s affidavit, Jadoon handed over the ashes to him and asked him to keep them in the room.
He said Shahid claimed that Jadoon later asked him to bring the ashes to him. When he handed over the bag contain the ashes to Jadoon, the latter put some pages into the bag.
Malik said Jadoon was arrested under charges of tampering with the evidence and the court recorded his statement and sent him on judicial remand. The minister stated that Jadoon was a prayer leader in the mosque where Hammad, the owner of the house in which Rimsha’s family was a tenant, was the moazzan. He said according to the investigation, Hammad had given notices to Rimsha’s family to vacate his house. He said the police had taken Rimsha and her family into protective custody and had transferred them to a safer place after she was accused on August 16, the minister said.
Malik said keeping in view the sensitivity of the matter, he had ordered a separate inquiry into the matter through the Islamabad magistrate and the entire evidence was also provided to the magistrate.
“We will also take the matter to clerics, the Islamic Ideology Council and wifaqul madaris. We will make the evidence public to make the investigation transparent. No one will be allowed to violate the blasphemy law. If the girl is found involved, she will be taken to task and if anyone tries to set her up, he will be brought to justice,” he said. Malik said the government would make the case an example and anybody who violated the law would be punished accordingly. He said a case had been registered against Jadoon under criminal conspiracy charge and all aspects would be looked into. He said representatives of two NGOs had also attempted to influence the accused girl but he had deputed officials so as no one could distort truth. He said according to the statement of Rimsha, the evidence was also collected.
Target killings: Regarding the targeted killings of Shias, Malik said targeted killers in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan had links with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, adding that Taliban commanders hired the Lashkar people for their ulterior motives who executed their plans on payment.
He said two militants of former Harkatul Ansaar, Frooq and Najatullah, had formed their own gangs and both were involved in Gilgit and Laloosar Top killings, respectively.
He said Malik Ishaq of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi had been moving freely for the last four years. “We provided leads to the Punjab government about his presence and wrote to the chief secretary that initially the law and order is a provincial affair but if the provincial government will fail to arrest him, we shall nab him through the FIA.”
Malik said Waliur Rehman and Hakeemullah Mehsud who were once bitter enemies, had now reconciled and pitched against Pakistan. “These people are also involved in Kamra incident,” he asserted. “But, I want to make it clear that their days are numbered. Nation stands united against terrorism and we shall take every action to root them out.”
The minister said he had warned about attacks in Peshawar a few days ago and one such attack was thwarted in which the suicide bomber was killed and arms were recovered. He said he would reveal more facts about involvement of a neighboring country in militant activities inside Pakistan and warned that if such assistance was not withdrawn, he would go to that country and would hold a press conference to expose those involved.
“We shall continue apprehending Taliban and other militant groups to the end. They are being funded from abroad to carry out sabotage activities within the country,” Malik said in response to a point of order by Hafiz Hamdullah.