06 December 2016
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas




  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 05/05/2011, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Long-term “surgical intervention” needed in Pakistan, Paul Bhatti says



    Special advisor talks to AsiaNews about his first weeks working with the ministry of his slain brother. Interfaith meetings and education to promote confessional coexistence are his goals. As Minority Affairs minister, the government appoints a Muslim who says, he has “strong ties” with minorities, and pledges to work for everyone’s security.
    Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Speaking to AsiaNews, Paul Bhatti, the prime minister’s special advisor on minority affairs, described what he wants to achieve and the principles that will guide his work.  His goals include long-term “targeted surgical interventions” to strengthen education and eliminate the “causes of fundamentalism” whilst guaranteeing “minorities and the whole community real change.” Working closely with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, he is responsible for formulating and implementing government policy on minority issues. Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, a Muslim lawmaker elected with the PML-Q, is the new federal Minority Affairs minister in replacement of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Catholic minister slain on 2 March.

    Pirzada’s appointment was made as part of a broader cabinet shuffle in the government led by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The changes include the arrival of PML-Q members and bring to an end the controversy over the ministry’s fate. Contrary to prior suggestions, the federal government will continue to administer Minorities Affairs.

    In early April, AsiaNews had reported that the issue had become entangled with political games (see “Political games and devolution behind uncertainties over Minority Affairs Ministry, 7 April 2011), which now seem over. On 2 May, Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, and 14 new PML-Q federal and provincial ministers took their oath of office in front of President Zardari.

    In his first weeks as special advisor, Paul Bhatti, Shahbaz Bhatti’s brother, held a number of “meetings on interfaith dialogue” with various parties. His aim is to make those who kill in the name of Islam understand that the Muslim faith “does not admit such initiatives” and to stress the “importance of mutual respect and coexistence” through joint actions that include meetings, targeted projects, cooperation between foundations and other organisations. In addition to this “first step”, education must be strengthened because “discrimination is less important among the middle classes given their higher levels of education.”

    “My task is to continue my brother’s work,” Bhatti said. Like Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, Shabbaz Bhatti was killed by extremists for his opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy law and for his support for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman currently on death row.

    “We want to promote small but long-term targeted surgical interventions to achieve radical change,” said Paul Bhatti, a physician who has worked for many years in Italy.

    Street demonstrations or changes to the “black law” are not necessary. “The causes of extremism” must be eliminated, he said, but “the law can stay. If people are honest and peaceful, it cannot lead to abuses”.

    As special advisor, he will be fully autonomous from federal Minority Affairs Minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, whose role will be administrative.

    The country is going “through a crisis that transcends the issue of a ministerial appointment,” a source with intimate knowledge of Pakistani politics, told AsiaNews, because “the whole political system is threatened”.

    The electorate is “still divided along religious lines” and focus on the religious aspects of state affairs “inevitably stirs up religious extremism. For this reason, the appointment of a Muslim as Minority Affairs minister should not be controversial if he shows some “flexibility and concern” for issues that matter to non-Muslims.

    Born in 1948, Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada is originally from Punjab. A lawyer by training, he is in his second mandate in parliament. Married with seven children, including six girls, he is an expert in human rights, environment and terrorism.

    Speaking to AsiaNews, the PML-Q lawmaker said that he has “strong ties to minorities and Christians” whose tragic circumstances he has followed, “like the attack against Gojra” in August 2009 when an extremist mob stormed a village, killing seven people.

    He said he would work with Paul Bhatti. He also plans to promote “changes” to the blasphemy law, “but my party will decide what to do in the matter”. Nevertheless, the goal is “provide all minorities with security, including the Christian minority.” (DS)

    (Jibran Khan contributed to the article)

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version










    See also

    23/06/2011 PAKISTAN
    Doubts and surprise among Christians over the first arrest in the Shahbaz Bhatti murder case
    After a long period of silence, it is “odd” that the one person who is arrested is an employee of the slain minister who worked for him for ten years, the bishop of Islamabad noted. A Catholic activist finds the direction of the investigation “surprising” and full of oddities. The job of the minister’s brother Paul is at risk, but for the latter it is “premature” to say anything about the probe, urging everyone to wait for the end of the interrogations.

    21/11/2011 PAKISTAN
    Faisalabad: accused of blasphemy, woman freed thanks to help from Christians and Muslims
    Catholic priest expresses gratitude to Muslim community for conducting “an in-depth investigation” before condemning the Christian woman. He hopes that “a culture of peace and religious harmony” will always prevail. The accused in the case after was charged under the black law over a legal dispute.

    21/02/2012 PAKISTAN
    Police in Rawalpindi clears Abid Malik of charges in the Bhatti murder case
    After issuing an international warrant that led to his arrest in the United Arab Emirates, police decides there is a "lack of evidence" against the Malik, who should be released shortly. The other suspect, Zia ur-Rehman, is still at large. For Islamabad bishop, the police is using "delaying tactics". For him, "justice delayed is justice denied."

    03/03/2011 PAKISTAN
    Punjab: Christians fear more massacres after churches and tombs are desecrated
    Kot Addu’s Christian community is facing more wrongdoings by local landlords who grabbed Christian-owned fields and shops with the complicity of local police and officials. Christian symbols are desecrated but the blasphemy law is not applied in this case. Local authorities say accusations are all made up but fail to provide legal backing for grabbing Christian property.

    12/10/2004 PAKISTAN
    Violence against the mentally disabled accused of blasphemy

    Christian physicians and lawyers say that Islam is being used to discriminate against disabled people.





    Editor's choices

    IRAQ
    "Adopt a Christian from Mosul": A Christmas gift to survive winter

    Bernardo Cervellera

    As Iraqi troops advance in the Nineveh Plain and Mosul, a new wave of refugees could overshadow the fate of other refugees who found hospitality in Kurdistan. People need kerosene, winter clothes, aid for children, and money for rent. The campaign AsiaNews launched two years ago is more urgent than ever. Give up a superfluous gift to offer refugees an essential gift for life.


    IRAQ
    Pastor of Amadiya: Mosul’s Christian refugees, torn between emergency aid and the longing to return home

    P. Samir Youssef

    In a letter Fr. Samir Youssef describes the situation of refugees, exiled from their home for more than two years. They are closely following the offensive to retake Mosul, although their homes and churches "are for the most part" burned or destroyed. With the arrival of winter there is a serve lack of heating oil, clothes, food and money to pay for their children’s school bus. An appeal to continue to support the AsiaNews campaign.


    AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!

    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.
     

    SUBSCRIBE NOW

    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google









     

    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®