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Pakistan Blasphemy Case Is Quashed By Court
A Pakistan court has thrown out all charges against a Christian girl accused of blasphemy.
Rimsha Masih, 14, spent three weeks on remand in an adult prison after she was arrested in August for allegedly burning pages from the Koran.
She was released on bail in September and police have since told the courts she was not guilty and that a cleric who allegedly framed her should face trial instead.
Paul Bhatti, the only Christian member of Pakistan's federal cabinet, confirmed the case had been thrown out by the high court in the capital Islamabad.
"I welcome this order. Justice has been done and the law of the land has been upheld by the court," he said.
"It will send out a positive image of Pakistan in the international community that there is justice for all and that society has risen up for justice and tolerance."
Rimsha's lawyer Akmal Bhatti said: "The court has quashed the case, declaring Rimsha innocent."
An official medical report classified Rimsha as "uneducated" with a mental age younger than her years. Some reports have also claimed that she has Down's Syndrome.
Under Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws, burning a sacred text is punishable with life imprisonment.
Blasphemy is a very sensitive subject in Pakistan, where 97% of the 180 million population are Muslims and allegations of insulting Islam or the prophet Mohammed often prompt a furious public reaction.