India

Indian Civil Society Condemns Assassination of Pakistan’s Minority Affairs Minister

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

New Delhi: A large section of the Indian civil society has come out strongly in condemnation of the assassination of Pakistan’s Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti who was killed today morning by some antisocial elements. Bhatti is the second to be killed after Salman Taseer because of their opposition to blasphemy laws, which impose death penalty for insulting Islam.

Pakistan's Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti (AFP)

Expressing grief and anger on Bhatti’s killing, Navaid Hamid , secretary of the South Asian Council for Minorities and member of the National Inegration Council (NIC), India, said in a press statement: “The brutal assassination of Pakistan’s Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti in Islamabad today is a cowardly act perpetuated by forces, which are bent to terrorize minorities across Pakistan and silence the voices of sanity. The murder of Mr Bhatti and others and persecution of minorities in Pakistan is a blot on the record of that country and shows that Pakistan has failed to protect its citizens.”

Lambasting the security situation in the subcontinent, he said: “It is shocking to know that Mr Shahbaz Bhatti, who was facing death threats since long, was not under security cover, despite being a federal minister, at the time of his brutal murder. The killing of an important minister and leader of minorities in Pakistan shows the threats and pressures under which minorities are living in Pakistan.”

“The assassination of Mr Bhatti has exposed the casual attitude of the Pakistani Government towards the threats Mr Bhatti had received in the past. After the assassination of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, the indifference of the government to Mr Bhatti’s security is shocking,” the press release reads.

“We request the Pakistani Government to immidiately apprehand the culprits responsilble for the assasination of an important leader of the minorities and of Pakistan and ensure the protection of the common citizens of the minorities in the country, he said.

The statement was endorsed by Dr Zafar-ul-Islam Khan, editior, The Milli Gazette; Anuradha Kapoor, editor, Kashmir Times; Seema Mustafa, resident editor, The Sunday Guardian New Delhi; Shabnam Hashmi of ANHAD; Teesta Setalvad, secretary, Citizens for Justice and Peace; Fr. Dominic Emanuel, Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, Delhi; John Dayal, secretary general, All India Christian Council, New Delhi; Dr Manzoor Alam, general secretary, All India Milli Council; Niaz Farooqui, secretary, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, New Delhi; and by many other activists and journalists.

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