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Christian exiles point finger over Bhatti

UK community wants justice for slain minister

Christian exiles point finger over Bhatti
Shabhaz Bhatti on an aid mission in Pakistan (Photo: ACN)
Mike MacLachlan, London

February 21, 2013

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The Pakistani government has “a lot to answer for” over the unsolved murder of Shahbaz Bhatti, the country’s minority affairs minister, according to the chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association.

“The fact that the killers have not been brought to justice is a blight on Pakistan,” said Wilson Chowdhry.

Bhatti, a Catholic and a prominent rights campaigner, was gunned down in the capital, Islamabad, on March 2, 2011.

The killing came after he publicly voiced support for Asia Bibi, who remains under a death sentence after being convicted in 2010 under the country’s controversial blasphemy laws. She is the first woman to be sentenced to death under the laws.

One man, Abid Malik, was charged with Bhatti’s murder but was cleared last February. It was said in court that he had no links with any militant organization.

Chowdhry was speaking to the charity Aid to the Church in Need ahead of an event in London on March 2 commemorating Bhatti’s life and calling for the repeal of the blasphemy laws.

He will be among the inter-faith speakers at the event, which begins with an inter-denominational Christian service outside the Pakistani High Commission in Knightsbridge, London.

Petitions calling for the release of Asia Bibi and an end to minority persecution will then be presented at the prime minister’s residence, 10 Downing Street.

The event will end with a “peace concert” in Trafalgar Square.

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