Islamabad: The Pakistani cleric who had accused the minor Christian girl of having committed by allegedly burning pages containing verses from the holy Quran, could face life imprisonment if found guilty, police have said.
Earlier on Friday, a man, identified as Hafiz Zubair, came forward as a witness and told a law officer that cleric Khalid Jadoon Chishti had planted evidence against Rimsha Masih by deliberately putting charred pages inscribed with Quranic verses in the pile of papers brought to him by a young man, reports The Express Tribune.
"We tried to stop him but he said this would strengthen the blasphemy case against Rimsha," said Zubair in his statement. He said he was sitting in the mosque along with a few other men when they witnessed the incident.
A police officer, who arrested Jadoon, said the charges of tampering with evidence and filing a false case were also being investigated and would be included in the case against the cleric later on.
He said Jadoon not only tampered with the evidence, but also made up the whole case.
"He put pages into the ashes, showed them to the people of the area, gathered them to attack the girl’s house and detained her before taking her to the police station. He made the boy Hammad become a complainant in the case and urged the police to press blasphemy charges against the 11-year-old girl," said the police officer.
However, the boy later disappeared after the people from his neighbourhood threatened to sever their relations with him in case he appeared before the court as a complainant.
Rimsha, who was arrested on August 16, is still languishing in judicial custody. The next hearing is to take place on Monday.