27/08/2012 16:31 BST | Updated 12/11/2012 15:34 GMT

Pakistan Blasphemy Case: Doctors Examine Christian Child Arrested For Burning Quran

Doctors have examined a young Christian girl in Pakistan accused of burning pages of the Quran, to establish her age and to determine whether she suffers from Down's syndrome.

The girl, known as Rimsha Masih, was arrested on blasphemy charges in Islamabad last week after she was reportedly seen in public holding burnt pages containing Koranic verses. She is thought to be 11 or 12.

Doctors will report on Rimsha's age and mental capacity on Tuesday.

Since the incident reports have emerged of hundreds of Christian families have fleeing Pakistan in fear. According to the Washington Post around 600 Christians have fled the capital in fear following Rimsha's arrest.

However others in the Christian community have protested Rimsha's treatment.

"Rimsha has been sent to jail without any proof. We demand this law should be repealed, people are misusing it. And Rimsha should be released immediately," Bishop Arshad Khokhar said, according to al Jazeera.

Pakistan's Minister for National Harmony, Paul Bhatti, told the BBC she should be released, saying: "The police were initially reluctant to arrest her, but they came under a lot of pressure from a very large crowd who were threatening to burn down Christian homes."

A police officer involved in the case, in Pakistan's capital Islamabad, said the accused girl had told him she had no idea there were pages of the Quran inside the papers she had burnt.

Qasim Niazi said the girl was illiterate and had not attended school, although there conflicting reports as to her mental state. He also told CNN 150 people had gathered in a part of town where the Christian population is based and threatened to burn down their houses.

He said: "The mob wanted to burn the girl to give her a lesson." He added families in the area had fled in fear."