The family of a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam said they are hoping for a presidential pardon that could bring her home for Christmas.

The case against Asia Bib, which started with a spat over a sip of water, has renewed calls for reform of Pakistan's blasphemy law, which critics say have been used to settle grudges and fan religious extremism.

President Asif Ali Zardari has asked for a report on the case and could issue a pardon even before a court issues its decision on an appeal.