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Pakistani advocate says public focus harms cause for Asia Bibi

Catholic World News - October 26, 2011

A leading public advocate for Christians in Pakistan has asked for a blackout on news coverage of the controversy surrounding Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who faces the death penalty on blasphemy charges.

Paul Bhatti, the government’s special advisor on religious minorities, explained that the steady focus on Asia Bibi is complicating efforts to save her life. He said that the media focus on her case draws the attention of Islamic extremists, whose pressure deters the government from acting in her favor. Quiet negotiations would be more effective than public advocacy, he said.

Bhatti said that silence on the case would be useful “not because one wants to hide the truth or silence the media, but to really be able to act for the salvation of women, away from the spotlight and the attention of fundamentalist groups.”

Paul Bhatti is the brother of Shabhaz Bhatti, the government minister who was assassinated because of his advocacy for Christians.

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