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» 03/05/2011
PAKISTAN
‘Black law’ strikes again as man acquitted on blasphemy charges is killed
Another religiously motivated murder occurs near Rawalpindi. Shahbaz Bhatti was buried yesterday in his native village of Khushpur. “We will continue Shahbaz Bhattit`s struggle for minority rights,” group pledges.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Muhammad Imran, a man charged with blasphemy in April 2009 and later released for lack of evidence, was gunned down in the Danada, a village near Rawalpindi. He had been accused of making insulting remarks about Prophet Mohammed during a discussion in a village cafe. However, he and another defendant were eventually set free by a court order after prosecution failed to produce evidence.

Imran was in a shop when two attackers came in and shot him dead. A third accomplice stayed outside. According to the victim’s brother Muhammad Akramm, Imran was killed by the same man from a nearby village who had originally accused him of blasphemy.

The murder comes two days after Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti was killed by militants for opposing the controversial blasphemy law. The Minority Affairs minister was laid to rest yesterday next to his father’s grave in the village of Khushpur in a ceremony attended by more than 15,000 people.

“We will continue Shahbaz Bhattit`s struggle for minority rights,” said Pervaiz Rafique, a leader of the All Pakistan Minority Assembly (APMA).

“Extremists can kill a person, not his thoughts. Shahbaz Bhatti wanted Pakistan to become Quaid-e-Azam`s Pakistan, we will carry on his mission," he added. Quaid-e-Azam or Father of Nation refers to Ali Jinnah, founder of modern Pakistan.

Police have arrested 15 people in connection with Bhatti’s murder. Police also said that it would interrogate Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer.

Every aspect of the case is under investigation. Eyewitness accounts and the testimony of Bhatti’s driver present different aspects, said IG Islamabad Police Wajid Durrani.

The Russian Orthodox Church has joined the chorus of condolences sent to Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani for Shahbaz Bhatti’s assassination.

“Many Christian Churches” were “encouraged by the appointment of Mr. Bhatti” to the “cabinet [. . .]. As a politician, he managed to do a lot” to reduce “religious tension in Pakistani society and courageously spoke out against initiatives of religious extremists,” said Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations.

This crime “is not the only act of violence against Christians in Pakistan. Neither simple believers, nor high-ranking officials are [. . .] protected today from aggression on the part of people who disguise their evil deeds under religious convictions.” (J.K. and N.A.)


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See also
01/30/2008 PAKISTAN
A 15-year-old Christian boy is abducted and killed, possibly by organ traffickers
10/29/2013 PAKISTAN
Karachi: Christian family faced with blasphemy and forced conversion threats
by Jibran Khan
06/17/2006 PAKISTAN
Two Muslims accused of blasphemy murdered in two days
by Qaiser Felix
01/26/2007 PAKISTAN
Another Christian imprisoned for “blasphemy”
by Qaiser Felix
05/20/2008 PAKISTAN
New “blasphemy” case, Catholic lawmaker against government
by Qaiser Felix

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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