Another cleric said after seeing photos of the girl upon her release that he doubted she was a minor.
A lawyer for the girl says she has been largely unaware of the furor her case has caused. Tahir Naveed Chaudhry said the legal team will now push for the case to be dropped entirely. The girl is staying at a secure, undisclosed location with her parents and five siblings, he said.
"She is happy that she is back to her family," he said.
Pakistan has some of the roughest blasphemy laws in the world. People found guilty of defiling the Quran get life in prison. Those convicted of maligning the Muslim prophet are sentenced to death, a punishment brought about under the rule of U.S.-backed Pakistani army dictator Gen. Zia-ul-Haq.
In other countries blasphemy laws tend to carry lesser punishments or are designed to protect all religions. In few countries do such accusations elicit the popular outrage they do in Pakistan:
— In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, people can be sentenced to up to five years in prison for "distorting" the central tenets of the six officially recognized religions.
— In Iran, the Islamic penal law offers considerable latitude, as offenders can be given anything from one year in prison to the death penalty.
— In Kuwait, Islamists in the opposition this year tried to make blasphemy a capital crime. The emir later dissolved parliament but it remains a prominent issue in the oil-rich kingdom.
Associated Press writers Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia, Brian Murphy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Nasser Karimi in Tehran and Zarar Khan and Asif Shahzad in Islamabad contributed to this report.
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