Pak Christian girl's bail hearing deferred

The bail hearing of a minor Christian girl charged with blasphemy in Pakistan was on Saturday put off till Monday after her accuser’s counsel raised questions about the lawyer representing her and legal paperwork in the case.

Judge Azam Khan adjourned Rimsha Masih’s case till September 3 and asked the police to check a bail application made on her behalf after the accuser’s lawyer claimed in the district and sessions court that legal papers had not been signed by the girl or her mother.
Rimsha’s mother Irshad Bibi had submitted a bail plea on August 25 but the girl had not signed the power of attorney.

Sources said Rimsha’s bail plea had run into problems because a number of lawyers, including Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, were claiming to represent her. Chaudhry is also a member of the Punjab assembly. During Saturday’s hearing, Rimsha’s mother submitted an application that said Anjum Riaz should be replaced by Chaudhry as the young girl’s counsel.

On Friday, a court extended Rimsha’s judicial remand for 14 days at the request of the police. She is currently being held at the high-security Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, where terrorists like Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives accused of involvement in the Mumbai attacks are also being detained.

Rimsha has been in custody since she was arrested in a low-income neighbourhood on the outskirts of Islamabad on August 16 after being accused by an angry mob of burning papers containing verses from the Quran.

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