In Islamabad this week, the neighbours are talking about the family and fate of Rishma Masih. She's the Pakistani Christian girl accused of blasphemy for allegedly defacing the Qu' ran. This woman lives next-door to the Masihs.
The latest twist is that police believe Rimsha may have been framed by a cleric who desecrated the Qu'ran himself and then tried to make it look as if the girl did it. He's been charged with violating the blasphemy laws as well. But Rimsha's Muslim neighbours don't believe that's true.
The neighbourhood is divided. This morning, Rimsha Masih was granted bail but there's no word yet when she'll be released from prison.
Declan Walsh is the New York Times reporter in Islamabad, one of the many international reporters covering the story. He joins us from Islamabad.
Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan - Minister for National Unity in Pakistan
The surprising change in attitude of some clerics is welcome news for Paul Bhatti.He's Pakistan's Minister of National Unity and the only Christian in Cabinet. He knows from personal experience the significance of cases like this. He left his job as a doctor in Italy to return to Pakistan after his politician brother, Shahbaz Bhatti, was assassinated by his body guards while attempting to reform the blasphemy laws. We spoke to Paul Bhatti yesterday and he told us that while fears for his safety, he doesn't believe the blasphemy laws need to be repealled. He's working to end misuse of the law.
Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan - Panel
To talk more about the blasphemy laws and the calls to change them, we were joined by Beena Sarwar. She's a journalist and documentary film-maker originally from Pakistan. She was in Boston. And Tariq Khattak is Commerce Editor at the Pakistan Observer in Islamabad.
This segment was produced by The Current's Ellen Saenger and Liz Hoath.
Last Word - Rob Ford Songs
Earlier this morning we talked about the difficulties facing Toronto's mayor, Rob Ford. His time in office has certainly been operatic -- it actually inspired an opera staged at the University of Toronto. But there are lots of more accessible tunes written about the mayor. His obsession with waste was a theme of his campaign song -- and of a satire by comedian Peter Wildman. On today's Last word, some melodic strains... on financial strain.
Other segments from today's show: