Sunday 6 March 2011

Pakistani Christians take to the streets

I got a call from Younis early in the morning. "We're organising a vigil in protest of the killing of Shahbaz Bhatti" he said "come if you can."

I joined the crowd just after 12, an it was pretty impressive. Around 50 members of the Christian Pakistani community had come down to express their anger at Bhatti's murder. They were furious that not enough was done to protect Mr Bhatti, a Roman Catholic and the minister for minorities in the Pakistan government. He had asked for a bullet proof car and greater protection, but it was not forthcoming.

He had predicted his death after speaking out against the blasphemy laws that specifically targeted the Christian minority. He even recorded a video to be broadcast when he was killed. He faced his fear of death and carried on, as his faith had led him.

The Muslim community has also lost its moderates, and now is the time for all those who value human rights to regroup and somehow find the strength to continue the struggle against fundamentalism and terrorism. We must strive to overcome our differences and work together for justice. It is time for those of us living in the relative safety of this country to support those in a much more vulnerable position in Pakistan.

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