But now something may be changing. Pakistani police have arrested the girl's accuser. ABC reports:
The cleric, Khalid Chishti, was arrested late Saturday for allegedly planting pages of a Quran in a shopping bag containing burned papers and ash that had been carried by the Christian girl, said Munir Jaffery, an investigating officer in the case. The bag was then submitted as evidence to the police.Though the girl's defense attorney's quickly assured the press that they do not oppose the blasphemy laws, perhaps this is the first sign that the tide is turning. The willingness to prosecute those who use the blasphemy law to frame others may begin to restore some sanity. Charges of blasphemy can be too easily abused in this way, not just to persecute religious minorities but also to exascerbate political feuds, business disagreements and marital conflicts, as my previous research documented. When communities feel empowered by law to defend their touchy sensibilities, whether they be iconic books or iconic buildings (see the recent Pussy Riot trial), an individual's right to justice and due process gets trampled (see Chloe Breyer's a propos essay).
Jaffery said a member of the mosque where the cleric works came forward Saturday and said man said the imam had placed the evidence in the bag. According to police, the man claimed Chishti said it was a way to get rid of the Christians.
The man's testimony only surfaced more than two weeks after the girl was originally arrested, raising questions about why he did not come forward sooner.
September 3: And now the Chairman of All Pakistan Ulema Council, an influential group of Islamic clerics, has hailed the Christian girl as a "daughter of the nation" and stated that "our heads are bowed in shame" because of the Imam's attempts to frame her. Things are changing!