People gathered outside the locked house of a Christian girl in suburbs of Islamabad. -AP Photo

PARIS: France on Tuesday added its voice to mounting international concern over the arrest on blasphemy charges of a young Christian girl in Pakistan.

The girl, Rimsha, is reported to have Down's syndrome. She faces the death penalty for allegedly burning pages with verses from the Koran.

French foreign ministry spokesman Vincent Floreani said Paris welcomed an announcement by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari that he would look into the case.

“France calls on the Pakistani authorities to free this young girl,” he added.

“We would also recall that the very existence of a crime of blasphemy is in breach of fundamental liberties, the freedom of religion or of conviction as well as the freedom of speech.

“We call on Pakistan to respect its international commitments in this respect.”Zardari has asked the interior ministry to submit a report on the case, the details of which remain unclear.

Reports in Pakistan have suggested the allegations against her were triggered after she burnt papers collected from a garbage pile for cooking.

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