Bhatti’s murder “a new low point” in Pak’s struggle against religious extremism: UK

March 3rd, 2011 - 3:03 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Mar 3(ANI): The United Kingdom has said the assassination of Pakistan’s Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti “marks a new low point” in the country’s struggle against violent religious extremism, and “poses questions about what kind of society Pakistan wants to become.”

“The assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti marks a new low point in Pakistan’s struggle against violent religious extremism. Shahbaz Bhatti was a powerful voice against extremism and a fearless voice for tolerance and respect for minorities. His death is a tragic loss for Pakistan. We condemn this shocking attack,” Foreign Office Minister for South Asia Alistair Burt said.

“Those [Blasphemy] laws had been abused to target minorities, and Minister Bhatti’s courage in urging peaceful, moderate change, had been met with violence. All moderate people of all faiths should unite and condemn this act, and work together to end the violent extremism which demeans us all,” Burt added.

British High Commissioner Adam Thomson said: “Shahbaz Bhatti was killed doing the job that he had been democratically elected to do, generating and contributing to public policy and debate. That is how democracy works. His murder, and the murder of Salman Taseer before him, is an attack on Pakistan’s democracy.”

“It poses questions about what kind of society Pakistan wants to become. The UK will continue to work side by side with Pakistan to help secure a brighter, more stable future for this country - a future in which extremists are not allowed to threaten or intimidate Pakistan’s democratic process and debate,” Thomson added.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that Bhatti’s assassination was a “cowardly attack on a democratically elected Government Minister and an attempt by extremists to silence free speech and debate in one of the world’s largest democracies.” (ANI)

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