Indian christians condemn killing of Pakistan ministerMarch 2nd, 2011 - 10:09 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, March 2 (IANS) Christians across India have condemned the murder of Pakistan’s minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, who was gunned down in Islamabad Wednesday by unidentified men allegedly for his views on the country’s controversial blasphemy law.
Bhatti, 42, was the only Christian minister in the Muslim majority country and met the same fate as Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who was gunned down by his own bodyguard Jan 4.
“The killing of an important leader of minorities shows the threats and pressures under which minorities are living in Pakistan. There have been reports about abduction and false implication in blasphemy cases and killings of members of the minority communities on a daily basis,” secretary general of the All India Christian Council John Dayal said.
Activists demanded measures to curtail right wing extremists and ensure safety of minorities in Pakistan.
“We strongly condemn this heinous act of killing which reflects the sad state of affairs in Pakistan and certainly calls for attention from all concerned to bring about normalcy in a country struggling under the pressure of right wing extremists,” Father Babu Joseph, spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, told IANS.
Former diplomat K.P. Fabian said Pakistan should respect all minorities without any religious prejudice.
“Pakistan has many different religious communities and it is most important that they respect the religious sentiments of others. Everyone should be treated equally irrespective of their religion,” said Fabian, who is also the president of non-governmental organisation Indo Global Social Service Society.
Both Bhatti and Taseer supported a reform in Pakistan’s blasphemy law. Both were also seeking presidential pardon for Aasia Bibi, a 45-year-old Christian farmhand who was sentenced to death on charges of denigrating Prophet Muhammad.
Minorities make up barely five percent of Pakistan’s population of 170 million. Christians are the second largest minority after Hindus.
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