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Canada gives refuge to Pakistani girl who was accused blasphemy

Officers guard a court in Islamabad during a hearing in the Rimsha Masih case (CNS)

A young Pakistani Christian girl falsely accused of blasphemy last year has been granted refuge in Canada.

Rimsha Masih and her family were forced into hiding for fear of their lives even though the charges against her were dropped.

Rimsha was arrested last August. But after witnesses accused a Muslim cleric of framing her the case was dismissed.

Canadian immigration minister Jason Kenney said someone in Pakistan had asked him if the country would be willing to accept Rimsha and her family.

He told the Canadian Press: “I said absolutely, if they could get her out. So a number of people did some very dangerous, delicate work to extricate her and her family from Pakistan, and we provided the necessary visas.”

The family arrived in Toronto in April. Mr Kenney said immigration officials have been instructed to process the family’s applications for permanent residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.