By: Munawer Azeem
ISLAMABAD: The Christian girl accused of blasphemy was airlifted from Adiyala jail on Saturday and shifted to an unspecified place in Islamabad under the protective custody of police after completion of legal formalities by her lawyers.
Her counsel Tahir Naveed Chaudhry and a senior police officer said the girl would be shifted to a safe place in another city with her family. The helicopter was arranged on the directives of Interior Minister Rehman Malik, the police officer said, adding that a heavy contingent of police commandoes had been deployed around the jail to avoid any untoward incident.
The capital police personnel, including SHO, investigation officer of the case and SSP, reached the jail, along with two armed personnel carriers. The girl whose face was covered with a piece of cloth was whisked to the waiting helicopter in an open area adjacent to the jail. The helicopter carrying the girl, her father, SSP and the investigation officer landed at the helipad of army aviation behind Shakaraprian in Islamabad.
The helicopter was later seen flying towards the western side of the capital, the area where girl’s town Mehria Jaffar is located.
There were unconfirmed reports that the girl and members of her family met a representative of the government under the custody of police commandos and also visited their house. According to sources, the girl and her family were shifted to an unspecified area and would be kept in a women hostel till Sunday morning.
A senior official said that the girl’s family had been allowed to move to any place of their choice, but it was suggested that they should shift outside the capital and the place would be kept secrete for their security. Meanwhile, Additional Session Judge of Islamabad Azam Khan ordered Inspector General Bani Amin Khan to appoint an honest and dedicated senior officer to investigate the case.
“It is a very sensitive matter which has attracted the national and international media and hurt the feeling of different religions.
The Inspector General of Police, Islamabad, is directed to appoint an honest and dedicated senior officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police, who shall conduct a proper investigation so that the real culprit or conspiracy, if any, could be dug out and real facts could be brought to surface,” the judge said in his order.
It may be mentioned that Assistant Inspector General of Police (operations) Tahir Alam Khan has been appointed head of a team investigating the case. District Magistrate Amir Ahmed Ali was appointed supervisory officer on Sept 6.
Earlier, an assistant sub-inspector and then a sub-inspector were investigating the case.
A senior police officer privy to the investigation told Dawn that the inspector general of police had recorded a statement of the girl and another would be recorded soon. Malik Asad adds: Additional Sessions Judge Kamaran Basharat Mufti signed the release papers. The Pakistan Minorities Alliance deposited the surety bonds for her release. On Friday, Additional District and Sessions Judge Mohammad Azam Khan granted bail to the girl against a surety bond of Rs1 million and adjourned the proceeds till Monday.
The girl’s lawyer told Dawn that the state was responsible for the girl’s safety as well as that of her family. Tahir Chaudhry said the girl would be kept in a rest house, along with her family, at an undisclosed location because of security concerns.
Nadeem Anthony, another counsel, said defence lawyers would appear before the court against Imam Jadoon because he had tried to misuse the blasphemy law. He said it was the Imam who committed blasphemy and he must be punished in accordance with the law.