Dignitaries remember Shahbaz Bhatti
High civil and religious dignitaries in Islamabad recalled the late Catholic minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, in a convention this week, by his brother Paul Bhatti, President of the APMA (All Pakistan Alliance Minorty ) and Adviser to the Prime Minister for Religious Harmony.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yousaf Raza Gilani cited Shahbaz Bhatti's "courageous commitment", stating that Bhatti "notably contributed to the rights of his people." It is thanks to Bhatti - Gilani said - the proclamation of 11 August is "National Day of minorities", recalling his dream of "a Pakistan where all citizens have equal rights, and nobody should be discriminated".
Farooq Sattar, leader of the "Muttahida Qaumi Movement," remarked Shahbaz Bhatti's struggle for the rights of minorities and against the abuse of the blasphemy law, stating that "members of minorities in Pakistan should have a right to become Prime Minister or President like any other citizen". The President of the Islamic ideology Council, Maulana Atif Zai recognized "Bhatti's considerable efforts for religious harmony and tolerance", emphasizing the desire "to keep his vision alive".
The Catholic Bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, Mgr. Rufin Anthony, called for justice and demanded the arrest of his murderers, while the Anglican Bishop of Lahore, Mgr. Alexander Malik, concluded: "There is no sacrifice greater than to give one's life for a cause. Bhatti gave his life for equality and fundamental rights for religious minorities". (XV-PA Agenzia Fides 07/03/2012)