Pakistan’s bishops ‘devastated’ by Catholic cabinet minister’s assassination
March 03, 2011
Pakistan’s bishops have condemned the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic who served as the nation’s federal minister for religious minorities. The gunman who ambushed Bhatti's car and shot down the government leader left a note saying that Bhatti was killed "for speaking out against the blasphemy law."
“We condemn the assassination of the Catholic Minister for Religious Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti,” said Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore, president of the nation’s episcopal conference. “We are devastated and deplore this anti-life gesture. This is a perfectly tragic example of the unsustainable climate of intolerance in which we live in Pakistan. We call on the government, the institutions, the whole country to recognize and take decisions about these issues, because there must be an end to this situation, where violence prevails.”
“We are alarmed: it is the sign of the fanaticism that indiscriminately affects all those who are committed to the defense of truth, justice and peace,” added Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad. “He was a genuine, transparent person, of great courage. I had great respect for him. He knew he was in danger, but he would not pull back …We will pray for him intensely.”
- Bishops on Bhatti's murder: “A tragic example of the intolerant climate in which we live” (Fides)
- Pakistan: Cabinet minister who defended Christians is assassinated (CWN, 3/2)