The future is uncertain for a 14-year-old Christian girl in
Pakistan. That's in spite of the fact that charges of blasphemy
have been dropped.
The girl, who has the mental capacity of a younger child, was
accused of desecrating the Koran, although four Muslims later
stepped forward testifying that the burned pages were planted on
the girl by an Islamic cleric.
Attorney Abdul Hameed says Tuesday's order exonerated his client
for lack of evidence and dismissed the blasphemy charges against
her, concluding they were based on material that was planted in the
girl's possession. Katrina Lantos Swett, who chairs the U.S.
Commission on International Religious Freedom, called the
exoneration "encouraging" but expressed concern that the girl and
her family could still be at risk of attack by angry
Jerry Dykstra with Open Doors USA tells OneNewsNow that even after
the charges have been dropped, the girl's life will never be the
"She was in jail for a couple weeks and then she was released,"
he says. "However, because of threats against her family, they had
put her into a special place in hiding in Pakistan."
According to Dykstra, she will never be able to return to her
village outside of Islamabad. Other Christians have also been
affected, as Dykstra explains: "Many Christians in that village
also were threatened and have been forced to move."
Nonetheless, the girl may have made history with her case.
"According to what we know, this is the first time under the
strict blasphemy laws in Pakistan that somebody has had a case that
has been dropped," Dykstra indicates.
The case caused an international outcry over Pakistan's strict
blasphemy laws, which carry life in prison or the death
Open Doors believes international pressure played a part in
getting the case successfully resolved, but Dykstra urges Americans
not to forget other persecuted Christians in Pakistan. One case in
particular is Asia Bibi, who has been in prison over three years
under the death penalty for blasphemy.
Asociated Press contributed to this story