ISLAMABAD - The arrest of a Muslim cleric for tampering with evidence against a Christian girl accused of blasphemy will help stop the misuse of laws on insulting Islam, a cabinet minister said.

"It is a good omen. The deputy imam of the arrested cleric has revealed the truth and it will be helpful to deal with the future blasphemy cases," Paul Bhatti, the Minister for National Harmony told AFP in an interview the other day.

"The disclosure about the tempering with the evidence will discourage future accusers to misuse this law."

The minister said he was "very hopeful" that Rimsha would be released on bail later this week.

Rimsha Masih is currently on remand in the high-security Adiyala jail in Rawalpindi.

She is "uneducated" and has a mental age of less than 14, according to a medical report, and her case has prompted international concern and anger from rights campaigners.

Paul Bhatti told AFP he was optimistic the youngster would be released at the next hearing, on Friday.

"Unfortunately there was strike of the lawyers and that was a technical problem and it was not possible to proceed (with) the hearing," he said. "On the 7th we are very hopeful that she would be released."