Pakistan Christian Fed Minority affairs minister’s assassins sheltered in Arab Middle East

January 13, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Affairs Shahbaz BhattiPakistan, January 11, 2012: Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Sunday that red warrants for assassins of former Federal Minister for christian Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti had been issued and soon they would be brought to justice.

“The two assassins are activists of the banned outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba. They managed to reach Middle East. However, we are making efforts for their arrest and will bring them back to the country,” Malik added.

He was talking to the media after a Christmas cake cutting ceremony at Fatima Church. Malik said Bhatti sacrificed his life for principles and that his services for interfaith harmony would long be remembered.

Earlier this year, Bhatti was killed in the I-8/3 area of Islamabad by three unidentified gunmen as he left his house, when his car was intercepted by a white Suzuki Mehran. Assailants, dressed in shalwar kurtas, first took the minister’s driver out the car and then shot 25 bullets at Bhatti.

According to initial reports, the Tehrik-i-Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attack.

In August, investigations took a twist when police investigators attributed the attack to a property dispute between relatives. They had concluded it was not a religiously-motivated murder despite the fact that the Taliban had claimed responsibility for the assassination.

‘PPP considers Christians as brothers, not minority’

Speaking at the ceremony, Malik felicitated the Christian community on Christmas and said,”Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) considers Christians their brothers and not a minority.”

He said Christians played an important role for Pakistan’s independence and then for the development of the country which was highly commendable.

After the independence of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had stated that followers of all faiths would be free to practice their religions. Today followers of all faiths in Pakistan enjoy religious freedom, which shows that the current government believes in religious freedom,” he said.

The minister said he had participated in today’s ceremony as he wanted to be a part of the Christian community’s happiness. Responding to a question regarding the law and order situation in the country, he said that the situation in the country had improved and that was evident from the current political environment in the country.

‘Foolproof security for PTI rally’

Speaking on the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf rally, Malik said that the government had made foolproof security arrangements for the gathering in Karachi. However, he asked all the political parties to avoid using provocative language against each other as it was against democratic norms adding that neither he nor any member of his party ever used harsh words against the Imran Khan.

(Read: Imran’s dream team wows Karachi)

“In democracy, there are certain ethics and parameters and others should follow these,” he said.

About Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s allegations against the President, Malik said that Qureshi remained part of the cabinet for three years but during that period he never raised any objection about the president. He added that after the martyrdom of Benazir Bhutto, Zardari through the slogan “Pakistan Khappay” had saved the country and also gave away powers to the Parliament, which was laudable.
He warned that PPP would also revise its policy if others did not stop using improper language against its leadership.

Regarding a question about intelligence agencies, he said that as per the Charter of Intelligence Agencies, those did not come under the interior ministry. He said the interior ministry had nothing to do with regard to intelligence agencies and Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar must do some research before labeling allegations in this regard.

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