Wednesday 2 March 2011

Another tragic murder in Pakistan

Shahbaz Bhatti, a 42-year-old Roman Catholic, died after his car was sprayed with bullets in a carefully planned ambush as he drove from his mother's home. It was the second assassination in two months of a high-profile opponent of Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws that impose the death penalty for insulting Islam.

Shahbaz Bhatti came to Bradford only a few months ago where he met with leading members of the local community at the deanery of the cathedral.  I spoke to David Ison (the dean) today, and he was deeply shocked. Mr Bhatti was a source of hope for tolerance and democracy in Pakistan and was one of the very few brave enough to speak out against the murder of Salman Taseer, who was also killed following his condemnation of the blasphemy law in Pakistan.

The world should mourn this man, and do all it can to prevent Pakistan's further descent towards chaotic fundamentalism.

Here is the Bradford Diocese press release sent out yesterday:

Archbishops of Canterbury and York Condemn Murder of Pakistan Minorities Minister


The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York have made the following statement condemning the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti, Minorities Minister in Pakistan:

"It is with the greatest shock and sorrow that we have heard of the assassination of Mr Shahbaz Bhatti, Minister for Religious Minorities in Pakistan. This further instance of sectarian bigotry and violence will increase anxiety worldwide about the security of Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan, and we urge that the Government of Pakistan will do all in its power to bring to justice those guilty of such crimes and to give adequate protection to minorities. Meanwhile, we assure Mr Bhatti's family of our prayers and deep sympathy, and promise our continuing support for all those of whatever faiths who are working for justice and stability in Pakistan."

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