Witnesses turn hostile in Pakistan Girl’s blasphemy case

Witnesses turn hostile in Pakistan Girl's blasphemy caseThe blasphemy case registered against young Christian girl Rimsha Masih took another turn today when two men, who had accused a cleric of tampering with evidence to implicate her, withdrew their statements and claimed they were tortured by police to testify against the imam. The two witnesses, who had earlier recorded statements against cleric Khalid Chishti, submitted a fresh statement in the court of a district and sessions judge in Islamabad that said police had forced them to blame Chishti for the incident.

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Pakistan Blasphemy Case witnesses turned

The three men who had accused a cleric of tampering evidence to implicate young Christian girl Rimsha Masih in a blasphemy case on Monday withdrew their statement, claiming they were tortured by police to testify against the imam.

The three witnesses, who had earlier recorded statements against cleric Khalid Chishti, submitted a fresh statement in the court of a district and sessions judge in Islamabad that said police had forced them to blame Chishti for the incident. The witnesses claimed police had tortured them and made them give statements against Chishti. One of the witnesses, Hafiz Mohammad Zubair, works as the muezzin in the mosque where Chishti is the cleric.

Despite their dramatic turnaround on Monday, the three witnesses had earlier spoken to several TV news channels and accused Chishti of tamepering evidence to implicate Rimsha in a blasphemy case. They said Chishti had added burnt pages of a religious text to a shopping bag that was in Rimsha's possession. The district and sessions judge put off the hearing of a bail application filed by Chishti till October 3.

Police had earlier submitted an interim challan or charge sheet that said Chishti had tampered with evidence. In a separate development, the Islamabad HC extended the stay on trial of Rimsha on blasphemy charges till October 17.

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