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Central & South Asia

Pakistani imam acquitted of blasphemy

Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti had accused a Christian girl of blasphemy before he himself was charged with the same.

Last Modified: 17 Aug 2013 20:46
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Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti was accused of tampering with evidence against Rimsha Masih. [EPA]

A Pakistani court has acquitted an imam who accused a Christian girl of blasphemy before he himself was arrested on similar charges, a lawyer said.

The court dismissed all charges against Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti and acquitted him on Saturday, Chisti's lawyer Wajid Ali Gilani told the AFP news agency.

The prosecution had failed to prove the charges while all the witnesses had withdrawn their accusations, Gilani said.

Chishti was accused of desecrating the Quran and tampering with the evidence against Rimsha Masih.

Masih, was arrested in August 2012 for allegedly burning pages containing Quranic verses, but the case against her was quashed following global condemnation.

Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan, where 97 percent of the population are Muslims, and under the country's penal code insulting the Prophet Mohammed can be punished by death.

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