Pak ‘blasphemy’ girl Rimsha Masih moves to Canada
A Pakistani Christian girl who was arrested for alleged blasphemy last year and forced into hiding for fear of her life has moved to Canada, an activist said on Sunday.
Rimsha Masih could have faced life in prison if convicted over allegations that she set fire to pages of the Koran in the poor, run-down neighbourhood where she lived on the edge of Islamabad.
She was arrested last August and spent three weeks on remand in one of Pakistan’s toughest jails in a case that drew widespread international condemnation.
She was released on bail and the case against her was quashed in November, but she and her family were forced into hiding, living under government protection in fear of their lives.
But a Christian activist in Pakistan told AFP Sunday that Rimsha and her close relatives had moved to Canada. ‘Rimsha and her family have arrived in Canada,’ Sajid Ishaq said.
‘The Canadian government is supporting them. They are presently doing a foundation course to learn basic English,’ he said.
Basharat Masih, a Pakistani policeman who said he had been assigned to Rimsha’s protection, also confirmed that they had left.
‘They are being taken care of by the Canadian government and attending church services,’ he told AFP. Blasphemy is a very sensitive issue in Pakistan and insulting prophet Mohammed can be punished by death.