Zardari remembers slain minorities minister

March 6th, 2012 - 12:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, March 6 (IANS) Shahbaz Bhatti, a minister who was gunned down last year, spent his life fighting for the cause of the downtrodden and marginalised sections of society particularly the minorities, said President Asif Ali Zardari.

Zardari remembered Bhatti in a message to mark a year after his death.

Bhatti, a 42-year-old Christian, was shot dead March 2 last year as he left his mother’s house in a posh locality in Islamabad.

He was the second high-profile person to die after Punjab governor Salman Taseer who was shot dead by his own bodyguard Jan 4, 2011. Both had sought presidential pardon for Aasia Bibi, a 45-year-old Christian farmhand sentenced to death on charges of denigrating the Prophet.

Zardari said Bhatti will be remembered as a man of great personal courage and conviction, reported Associated Press of Pakistan.

Bhatti was in the forefront of the struggle for protecting the minorities from exploitation and discrimination, Zardari said adding: “In the pursuit of this struggle Shahbaz Bhatti refused to be deterred despite threats to his life.”

Minorities form approximately four percent of Pakistan’s 180 million population. Over 80 percent of the non-Muslims in Pakistan are Christians or Hindus.

“We will not permit discrimination against any one on the basis of religion and faith,” the president said.

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