Islamabad: A day after a young, mentally- challenged Christian girl accused of blasphemy was granted bail, surety bonds of Rs 10 lakh were on Saturday submitted at a Pakistani court, paving the way for her release in the case that has sparked an international outcry.

Rights activists said Rimsha, currently being held in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, is expected to be released later in the day after the completion of some paperwork.

The additional district and sessions judge had granted bail to Rimsha on Friday against two bonds of Rs five lakh each. She could not be freed yesterday as the court's order reached police after office hours.

Rimsha's relatives and lawyers are expected to go Adiala Jail to submit documents and take her away.

Tight security arrangements were put in place at the jail, where high-profile terror suspects like the Mumbai attacks accused are also being held.

The next hearing of Rimsha's case will be held in the middle of this month.

The court has directed the Islamabad police chief to appoint a capable officer to investigate her case.

Rimsha was arrested from the low-income Islamabad suburb of Mehria Jaffar on August 16 on charges of burning papers containing verses from the Quran.

She was charged under Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws.

The case against her collapsed after a man told police that the imam of the mosque in Rimsha's neighbourhood had planted evidence that was used to implicate her.

The imam was subsequently arrested.

An official medical board that examined Rimsha concluded that she was about 14 years old and that her mental development did not correspond to her age.

An NGO named 'Christians in Pakistan' had earlier reported on its website that the girl has 'Down Syndrome'.

Rights groups have warned that Pakistan's controversial law is often used to settle personal scores or persecute minorities like Christians.

Last year, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, were gunned down by extremists after they criticised the blasphemy law.

The case, which prompted concern from the West and the Vatican, also focussed attention once again on Pakistan's harsh blasphemy law, under which a person can be punished with life in prison or death.

(Agencies)

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