07/24/2010, 00.00
PAKISTAN
Send to a friend

Calls for Christian Minister Bhatti to resign

Minister condemned last Monday’s murder of two Christian brothers. Islamic cleric says killing someone accused of blasphemy is justified, demands Bhatti resign because he criticised the misuse of the blasphemy law. Meanwhile, police is investigating the double murder and might have a first name.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Muslim groups insist that the murder of two Christian brothers,  Emmanuel and Sajid Rashid, gunned down in Faisalabad last Monday after they were accused of blasphemy, was justified. They also want Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, to resign because he condemned the murder. Meanwhile, police are investigating the crime and might have identified one of the perpetrators.

In a statement that appeared in the Urdu daily Jasarat, Islamic cleric Allama Ahmed Mian Hammadi said, “It is not a cruelty to kill blasphemers; rather blasphemy itself is such an enormous brutality that the one who commits it does not have the right to live in this world. There is no pardon for the blasphemer.

The two Christian brothers were arrested after being charged with blasphemy, but their trial appeared to be moving towards acquittal for lack of evidence. Nevertheless, handcuffed and without a chance to defend themselves or escape, they were shot dead by masked gunmen just outside of the courthouse.

Bhatti condemned the murder, saying the charges were false, fabricated by someone who had a grudge against the brothers. He said that no one has the right to take the law in their own hands, and that the blasphemy law should be changed to prevent abuses.

For Hammadi, Bhatti ought to resign for saying that the murder was due to an abuse of the blasphemy. In fact, in the cleric’s opinion, the incident was due to the non-implementation of the blasphemy law. “The two brothers were killed after Muslims became angry.”

On top of that, Hammadi said that if Bhatti committed blasphemy [for condemning the murder and criticising the abuse of the blasphemy law] he should be beheaded” as well. The Christians who protested in the streets and allegedly threw stones at Muslim houses after the double murder should also be arrested.

On Thursday, the chief justice of Lahore High Court in Punjab, Khwaja Mohammad Sharif, ordered an investigation into the brothers’ murder, in response to a request by the Government of Punjab.

Media have criticised Faisalabad Regional Police Officer Aftab Ahmad Cheema for the inadequate protection provided to the accused, despite threats.

Police sources indicate that a man called Rana Maqsood, a Muslim, was arrested in connection with the case.

Send to a friend
Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
"We are optimistic," says Paul Bhatti as Rimsha Masih's bail hearing postponed to Friday
03/09/2012
For Paul Bhatti, diplomacy and intelligence should be used against terror, or Europe could be a new Pakistan
24/03/2016 16:28
Minorities demand equal rights as country celebrates independence
14/08/2007
Enough discrimination we want a modern Pakistan, says Christian lawmaker
01/04/2008
"I am very happy for my daughter's liberation," Rimsha Masih's father tells AsiaNews
07/09/2012