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Brother of slain Catholic minister flees Pakistan

Paul Bhatti slams police for lack of security despite Taliban threats

ucanews.com reporter, Islamabad
Pakistan

February 10, 2014

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The brother of assassinated Pakistani Catholic minister Shahbaz Bhatti has been forced to flee Pakistan after being threatened by Islamic militants.

Paul Bhatti, chairman of the All Pakistan Minority Alliance, an umbrella organization of religious minorities, as well as the Shahbaz Bhatti Memorial Trust, told a Pakistani cable channel on Saturday that he has moved to Italy in order to save his life.

"Punjabi Taliban dropped pamphlets at my office in Lahore and warned me of dire consequences for pursuing the murder case of my brother," he said.

"I will not give up this case despite the threats," he said.

He criticized the Interior Ministry and police for not providing him with security despite repeated requests.

Shahbaz Bhatti, the former minority affairs minister and outspoken critic of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, was gunned down outside his residence in Islamabad in March 2011. Two gunmen sprayed the minister's car with bullets and dropped pamphlets next to his body, describing him as a Christian infidel.

Last September, Islamabad police arrested two suspected terrorists, Hammad Adil and Umer Abdullah, and charged them with the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti. The pair later confessed their involvement.

The trial is currently being held in an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi

Paul Bhatti played an active role in the release of teenage Christian girl Rimsha Masih in a blasphemy case. He later challenged the acquittal of Qari Khalid Jadoon, who falsely accused Rimsha of burning pages of the Qu'ran.

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