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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 03/30/2011
PAKISTAN
Shahbaz Batthi killed by a "mafia" of fundamentalists holding the government hostage
by Fareed Khan
The minister for minorities, Salman Taseer and other victims of the "organized movement" fighting for power. The violence has raised such fear that that any discussion about the law on blasphemy has been dropped. But Christians must cultivate the hope and with the help of the universal Church, build a better future.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - "A kind of mafia" dominates Pakistan, one that holds the country hostage and "destabilizes the name of religion", it "is very important" to fight this criminal organization but it is equally important to "think about how to fight it," by strengthening schools and the education level,  Fr Bonnie Mendes tells AsiaNews.  The priest, a leading figure in the Catholic Church of Pakistan, says that "militant extremists" linked to organized movements "killed Salman Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti and David Qamar”. These murders, also, "have generated fears" that might bring down any debate on amendments to the blasphemy law.

Salman Taseer, Governor of Punjab and staunch opponent of blasphemy laws, was killed Jan. 4 by one of his bodyguards for his defense of Asia Bibi, a 45 year old Christian mother of five children, sentenced to death because of the "black law" and pending appeal. Shahbaz Bhatti, Minister for Minorities, was murdered by an armed commando on March 2 last, government and police blame each other for the death of the Catholic politician, but the culprits are still at large. David Qamar, 55, died in prison in Karachi, where he was serving a life sentence for blasphemy. The prison authorities have spoken of a cardiac arrest, but the family suspects that the man was poisoned.

Fr. Mendes, from 1986 to 1999 Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Episcopal Conference, said that the mafias operate "under the cloak of religion" and "cause suffering for the whole nation”. After the death of Catholic minister for minorities, "the situation of Pakistani Christians will be as it has always been" because "other leaders will emerge and things will continue." "Maybe not high profile personalities like Shahbaz Bhatti - he adds - but there will be others."

For Father Mendes, currently regional coordinator of Caritas Asia, sees the appointment of Paul Bhatti - brother of the assassinated Catholic minister - as chairman of All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) is very significant, because it shows that "the group does not want internal divisions”. Fr. Mendes makes it clear that it is too early to assess whether Paul "will be a good replacement for Shahbaz, but it is fundamental that" there are no divisions in the group, partly because Shahbaz Bhatti "was not formed in one day, but took time ".

The most urgent objective is to "eliminate discrimination against religious minorities in Pakistan and for this “we need to sit down and discuss” issues.  He invites greater attention on the widespread problem of discrimination, "not only on a particular law" (a reference is to the notorious blasphemy laws, ed.) In this way, he explains, “we will avoid offending" the Muslim majority, by not offering excuses to the extremist fringe and "be able to do more for the persecuted Christians in Pakistan".

After the death of Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, the priest says, "people do not want to talk about the blasphemy laws because they are afraid", but the organizations for the protection of human rights "also seek to combat discrimination in the country." Fr. Mendes sees no "short-term solutions”, but rather thinks that it is necessary to look at “the long term, promoting education, eliminating discrimination from the ground up, even in schools and for this reason I feel the need to encourage the emergence of Catholic institutions. "

"On a personal level - the priest said - I think study is fundamental for young people" even if it is "very expensive" today in Pakistan. Young Christians have talent and ability, but they have no incentives to tackle and qualify for the most challenging courses of study, because access to higher level and the most prestigious occupations is closed to them”. In this sense, he adds, " the help of international partners is essential." The Pakistani Christian community, says Father Mendes, "is strong and determined, with the help of the universal Church it will be possible to build a strong Church in Pakistan."

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See also
03/02/2011 PAKISTAN
Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani minister who defended Asia Bibi, is assassinated
by Jibran Khan
02/12/2011 PAKISTAN
Islamabad confirms Catholic Shahbaz Bhatti as Minister for minorities
by Jibran Khan
06/23/2011 PAKISTAN
Islamabad: first (odd) arrest for the murder of Catholic Shahbaz Bhatti
03/02/2011 PAKISTAN
Pain and sorrow of the Pakistani Church and the world over the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti
01/26/2011 PAKISTAN
Pakistani Christians: day of fasting and prayer for the release of Asia Bibi
by Jibran Khan

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: on the persecution of Christians, the international community should "not stand by mute and inactive” and “look away”For the sixth time in a week, Pope Francis mentioned the martyrdom of Christians in today’s Regina Caeli (the Marian prayer at Easter), slamming the indifference of the international community towards this "alarming failure to protect basic human rights.” Today’s martyrs "are many, and we can say that they are more numerous than in the first centuries." In addition, “Faith in the resurrection of Jesus and the hope He has brought to us is the most beautiful gift that a Christian can and must offer his brothers and sisters. To one and all, therefore, do not tire of repeating: Christ is Risen!”
ASIA
Easter: The silence of the innocent and the gag
by Bernardo CervelleraViolations of religious freedom and the West's hypocricy surrounding this issue are likely to drag the world into an unprecedented chaos. But even in silence - of death accepted for love or death inflicted by power - God is at work. An indestructible hope rises on Easter morning and a small opening of the heart is just enough for it to invade a lifetime. Happy Easter.
IRAN
Time for a deal with Tehran, a reliable partner against the Islamic State group
by Bernardo Cervellera A framework agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue has to be inked by 31 March. US Republicans, Israel and Saudi Arabia are fiercely opposed to it for ulterior motives. Hassan Rouhani wants Iran to come back into the international fold. Tehran is playing a mediating role in the Middle East. For Vatican nuncio, “there is no evidence that Iran is preparing a nuclear bomb.”

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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