Pakistan again

From time to time I receive email news releases from the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). One a couple of days ago was on a second assassination in 2011 of a moderate voice in Pakistan, this time of Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian and Pakistan’s Minister for Minority Affairs.

Shahbaz Bhatti

Here is a clip of the WEA statement.

Minister Bhatti was an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s blasphemy law and had been calling for its abolition. Pamphlets left by the assassins labeled him an “infidel Christian” and cited his opposition to the blasphemy law as the reason for his assassination.

The killing of Minister Bhatti underscores the peril religious minorities in Pakistan are facing as a result of the blasphemy law and the culture of animosity this law continues to foster within the country.

Dr. Tunnicliffe met Minister Bhatti just recently to discuss the situation in Pakistan and plan a high level visit to Islamabad by WEA leaders.

Ten days ago Shahbaz Bhatti was re-inducted into the cabinet of the government of Pakistan. According to Minister Bhatti his induction “had sent a wave of joy and encouragement among the religious minorities across the country, especially the Christian community”.

Yesterday, a day before his assassination, Minister Bhatti wrote in a communication with Dr. Tunnicliffe, Secretary of the World Evangelical Alliance:

“I personally believe that it is Jesus Christ who has once again bestowed unto me this responsibility and position with a special purpose and mission to serve the suffering humanity and I am determined to carry on defending the principles of religious freedom, human equality, social justice and the rights of minorities.

If you have a moment today, do pray for the family of Mr Bhatti, for the Christian communities in Pakistan, for individuals like Asia Bibi and for courage for those working for justice and tolerance in that nation.

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