Pakistan church opens martyrdom cause for slain minister

Shahbaz Bhatti foretold his death in conversation with Vatican news agency

March 2, 2016
The Diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi said it will begin collecting evidence to open the process to declare as a martyr, Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani Catholic minister for minorities who was assassinated on March 2, 2011, Vatican Radio reported.

Bhatti — a leading voice for religious freedom and peace in Pakistan — was shot dead by three masked men as left his mother's home in Islamabad.

In a video he recorded to be released in case of his death, Bhatti said: "I want to share that I believe in Jesus Christ, who has given his own life for us. I know what is the meaning of 'cross,' and I follow him to the cross."

"Pray for me and for my life," reported the Vatican news agency Fides.

Bhatti told the Vatican news agency Fides ahead of his murder: "Pray for me and for my life."

"I am a man who has burnt his bridges. I cannot and will not go back on this commitment. I will fight fanaticism and fight in defense of Christians to the death."

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