Obama condemns Pak minister’s assassination in “strongest possible terms”

March 3rd, 2011 - 11:02 am ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama Washington, Mar 3(ANI): US President Barack Obama has strongly condemned the assassination of Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Obama said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened by the assassination of Pakistan’s Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti in Islamabad, and condemn in the strongest possible terms this horrific act of violence.”

“We offer our profound condolences to his family, loved ones and all who knew and worked with him. Minister Bhatti fought for and sacrificed his life for the universal values that Pakistanis, Americans and people around the world hold dear - the right to speak one’s mind, to practice one’s religion as one chooses, and to be free from discrimination based on one’s background or beliefs,” he added.

Obama said Bhatti was “clear-eyed about the risks of speaking out, and, despite innumerable death threats, he insisted he had a duty to his fellow Pakistanis to defend equal rights and tolerance from those who preach division, hate, and violence.”

“He most courageously challenged the blasphemy laws of Pakistan under which individuals have been prosecuted for speaking their minds or practicing their own faiths,” he added.

The president said the assassins should be brought to justice, and those who share Bhatti’s vision of tolerance and religious freedom must be able to live free from fear.

“Minister Bhatti will be missed by all who knew him, and the United States will continue to stand with those who are dedicated to his vision of tolerance and dignity for all human beings,” he added.

US Ambassador to Islamabad, Cameron Munter, also extended deepest sympathies on behalf of the American people to Bhatti’s family and all Pakistanis.

“Minister Bhatti was a Pakistani patriot and a voice for understanding who committed his life to public service and fulfilling the Quaid-e-Azam’s vision for his nation as a beacon of democratic tolerance. His death is a loss for all who believe in the values for which he gave his last full measure of devotion,” Munter said.

“The United States stands with the people and government of Pakistan in their fight against the forces of intolerance and violent extremism that threaten us all,” he added. (ANI)

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