Islamabad: Minor Christian girl, who was arrested last month after being falsely accused of blasphemy, was on Friday granted bail by a Pakistani court, a case that has drawn concern from Western governments and the Vatican.
Judge Muhammad Azam Khan of the Additional District and Sessions Court ordered the release of Rimsha Masih against two bail bonds of Rs five lakh each.
"I accept her bail application," Khan said in a packed courtroom.
The order came following a two-and-a-half-hour hearing on Rimsha's bail petition, which was marked by noisy arguments between lawyers of both sides.
A large number of activists of civil society groups, including the NGO Avaaz, gathered at the court to express solidarity with Rimsha.
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.
The lawyer of the man who had accused Rimsha of burning pages of the Quran said her counsel had not submitted key documents in court.
On the other hand, the police officer investigating the case told the judge that several witnesses had testified before a magistrate that she was falsely implicated due to evidence planted by Khalid Chishti, the imam of the mosque in the low-income Mehria Jaffar neighbourhood of Islamabad.
Chishti was arrested last week after a man testified that he had seen the cleric stuffing pages of the Quran in a bag belonging to Rimsha. The bag originally contained only some other papers and ashes.


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