Pakistani Girl Free For Now

Pakistani Girl Free For Now September 11, 2012

Here’s a bit of good news out of Pakistan, where that 11-year old girl who was charged with, and apparently framed for, blasphemy has been released from prison. But the charges have not yet been dropped and she is still at great risk.

A young Christian girl accused of burning pages of Islam’s holy book was freed Saturday from a jail near the capital where she had been held for three weeks, a Pakistani jail official said.

The release a day after a judge granted her bail is another step closer to ending an episode that has focused an uncomfortable spotlight on Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, which can result in life in prison or even death for defendants. Many critics say the laws are misused to wage vendettas or target Pakistan’s vulnerable minorities like the Christians.

I wish the media and everyone else would stop saying that blasphemy laws are being misused when the problem is that they’re being used at all, that they even exist.

The girl’s release came a day after a judge in Islamabad granted bail to the mentally challenged girl, a move hailed by the human right activists and representatives of Pakistan’s minority Christian community. Bail is rarely granted in blasphemy cases, and the decision signals a degree of sympathy that could result in all the charges being dropped.

Let’s hope so, and quickly. And let’s also hope that mob “justice” doesn’t take over from the courts at that point.

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