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Call for Shahbaz Bhatti to be declared a martyr

Wed 02 Mar 2016
By Marcus Jones

Christians in Pakistan are marking the 5th anniversary of the death of Shahbaz Bhatti by calling for him to be declared a 'Martyr of the Church'. 

On 2 March, 2011, he was assassinated in Islamabad after raising his opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy laws and for showing public support for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for allegedly committing blasphemy in June 2009.

Mr Bhatti was serving on Pakistan's Cabinet at the time. He was the only Christian to be representing the government.

Speaking to International Christian Concern, Shamaun Alfred Gill, spokesperson for the All Pakistan Minority Alliance, the political party formed and led by Bhatti, said: "A committee from the Vatican is reviewing Shahbaz Bhatti's struggle for equal rights and gathering information on is murder.

"We are hoping that this outspoken hero of the nation will soon be given the official status of martyr by the Vatican for raising his voice for the voiceless in this country."

Professor Anjum James Paul, a close friend of Bhatti said: "He was a hero to the [Christian] community.

"He stood against injustices, inequalities, discrimination, and human rights violations. He remained committed to his call to serve the downtrodden until his last breath. He will be remembered for his extraordinary services."

Earlier this week, the murderer of another politician, Salman Taseer, who stood up for Christians was hanged after being found guilty of the crime.

To date, those responsible for the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti have yet to be brought to justice.

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