March 09, 2011, 9:26 AM
he new Global Healing program in Pakistan has barely begun when two assassinations took place in Pakistan related to blasphemy laws.
The first was on January 5th when Pakistani Governor was killed by his own security detail
Last week Mr. Shabaz Bhaitti, the only christian member of the Pakistani Paliament was assasinated for his opposition to Pakistan's blasphemey laws. Taliban groups claimed responsibility for the killing.
The global healing sponsored rally today strongly condemend the assasination and has called on the public to resist these acts of terror and promote an atmosphere of more tolearance and acceptance in Pakistan.
The Global Healing intiative has called for an end to the blasphemy law whichi it finds contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
It has asked the United Religions Initiative to give stronger support to Human Rights to end religiously motivated violence.
Mr. Shabaz Bhatti was elected to the Pakistan Assembly in 2008 and was appointed the first Federal Minister of Minorities.
He as founder of both the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance and the Christian Liberation Front. He as as strong outspoken critic of Pakistan's blasphemy laws and defender of Human Rights.
During is tenure as Federal Minister he took steps to support religious minorities, promoted interfaith harmony, and proposed curriculum in comparitive religion to gain better understandng of different religious differences.
He began receiving his first death threats when he spoke in support of Pakistani Christians attacked in the Gorja riots in the Punjab Province in 2009.
The Daily Beast warns that the Taliban has already identified a target for their next assassination related to blasphemy laws.
The Daily Best reported:
"Before they sped off, the assassins dumped pamphlets at the scene of the crime. “This is a warning from the warriors of Islam to all the world’s infidels, Crusaders, Jews and their operatives within the Muslim brotherhood,” it reads, “especially the head of Pakistan’s infidel system, [President Asif Ali] Zardari, his ministers, and all the institutions of this evil system.” This document from the Punjabi Taliban continues: “In your fight against Allah, you have become so bold that you act in favor of and support those who insult the Prophet. And you put a cursed Christian infidel Shahbaz Bhatti in charge of [the blasphemy laws review] committee. This is the fate of that cursed man. And now, with the grace of Allah, the warriors of Islam will pick you out one by one and send you to hell, God willing.”
The Beast continued saying:
The jihadists already have another target in their sights. Like Taseer and Bhatti, Sherry Rehman, a former information minister and member of the National Assembly from the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, has also been declared “fit to be killed” by the Taliban for her advocacy of legal reforms to prevent misuse of the blasphemy laws. Despite the threats, she has refused to leave the country. Stepped-up security is no guarantee of one’s safety given that Taseer was killed by a policeman assigned to protect him. In his interview with the Post, Bhatti expressed as much. “I don’t believe that bodyguards can save me after the assassination [of Taseer]. I believe in the protection from heaven, so I ask the people to pray,” he said.
The Express Tribune collected the following respoonses to the assassination.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
I was shocked and outraged by the assassination. It was also an attack on ‘the values of tolerance and respect
US senator John Kerry:
Today’s act of terrorism is particularly chilling. Bhatti was a brave defender of all of Pakistan’s religious and ethnic minorities and his death is a loss to his country and his family.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay:
I urge the government of Pakistan to support Bhatti’s and Taseer’s positions on the blasphemy laws, to do otherwise will simply encourage similar acts of violence and lawlessness as a means of scaring governments off from making much needed human rights reforms.
The Vatican Spokesman Federico Lombardi:
The attack was a new act of violence of a terrible gravity, our prayers for the victim, our condemnation of the act of unspeakable violence, our closeness to the Pakistani Christians subject to hate, we add an appeal concerning the dramatic urgency of the defence of religious freedom.
US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter:
The US condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti. On behalf of the American people, I extend our deepest sympathies to his family and to all Pakistanis. His death is a loss for all who believe in the values for which he gave his last full measure of devotion.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague:
I am appalled by the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti. This was a cowardly attack on a democratically elected minister and an attempt by extremists to silence free speech and debate in one of the world’s largest democracies.
British High Commissioner Adam Thomson:
I am horrified by Shahbaz Bhatti’s assassination in a callous, cowardly attack this morning. His death is a loss to Pakistan and a deep wound inflicted on Pakistani society. It poses questions about what kind of society Pakistan wants to become.
German Foreign Minister Dr Guido Westerwelle:
I have just heard this news with great dismay. Shabaz Bhatti, the only Christian in the Pakistani government, was passionately committed to the rights of minorities in Pakistan, showing great personal courage. His death has shocked us.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2011.
Story being updated at: http://www.globalhealing.net/news/view/164187/?topic=16751