On 2nd March 2011, Shahbaz Bhatti,  Federal Minister for Minority affairs had been shot dead by armed militants in Islamabad. Shahbaz was shot dead at the I-8/3 area of Islamabad by three armed assailants who could not be unidentified. Reports had claimed that outlawed and banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed responsibility for the attack.

 

According to details provided by police, Bhatti had been receiving death threats from clerics and had requested more security from the government, after which the Interior Ministry had provided him with four security guards. Bhatti had been dead on arrival at Islamabad’s Shifa hospital.

On this occasion, Pakistan local Church will begin collecting the testimonies to open the diocesan process to declare Bhatti a ‘martyr’.

The 42-year old Bhatti – a leading voice for religious freedom and peace in Pakistan – served as federal minister for religious minorities. He was shot to death by three masked men on March 2 as he left his mother's home in Islamabad by car.

In a video he recorded to be released in case of his death, Bhatti stated: “I want to share that I believe in Jesus Christ, who has given his own life for us. I know what is the meaning of ‘cross,’ and I follow Him to the cross.” “Pray for me and for my life,”

Bhatti told Fides ahead of his murder. “I am a man who has burnt his bridges. I cannot and will not go back on this commitment. I will fight fanaticism and fight in defense of Christians to the death.” In the second week of April, Pakistan's bishops and Catholic faithful will gather in Islamabad to commemorate Bhatti, 40 days after his death.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the fifth anniversary of the death of Mr. Bhatti, Archbishop Coutts said, “He spoke with faith and demonstrated courage. Thanks to him the voice of Pakistan's Christians was heard. He paved the way for us. He was a good Catholic and gave his life for his mission."

 

US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) renews its call for the Pakistani government to bring to justice his killers and end the culture of violence and impunity that the blasphemy law fuels.

 

Reported by,

Ashik Naz Khokhar

Pax Romana-ICMICA Pakistan

 

 

 

According to details provided by police, Bhatti had been receiving death threats from clerics and had requested more security from the government, after which the Interior Ministry had provided him with four security guards. Bhatti had been dead on arrival at Islamabad’s Shifa hospital.

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