22 August, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 11/04/2008
PAKISTAN
Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic, is the new minister for the defense of minorities
The Pakistani member of parliament has focused his political efforts on defending minority rights. He embraced the Catholic religion as a child, and counts on Christ in order to fulfill his new duties.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/ANS) - Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic member of parliament and head of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) is the new Pakistani minister for the defense of minorities. The appointment came on the night of November 2, and for the first time the position has the same stature as the other cabinet posts. In the past, protection of minorities was entrusted to a lower ranking official, who had to work under one of the government ministers.

Bhatti, together with other members of the new executive, took the oath of office before President Asif Ali Zardari, during a special ceremony held on November 3 in Islamabad. Volunteers, workers, and sympathizers of the APMA celebrated by distributing sweets and dancing to the rhythm of drums. The association has always fought to promote unity, interreligious dialogue, social justice, human rights, and religious freedom for all minorities in the country: from Christians to Hindus, from Sikhs to Parsis, without any distinction.

After taking the oath of office, the minister-elect said that he accepted the post for the sake of the "oppressed, down-trodden and marginalized" of Pakistan, and that he has dedicated his life to "struggle for human equality, social justice, religious freedom, and to uplift and empower the religious minorities' communities." He added that he wants to send "a message of hope to the people living a life of disappointment, disillusionment and despair." "Jesus is the nucleus of my life," says Bhatti, "and I want to be His true follower through my actions by sharing the love of God with poor, oppressed, victimized, needy and suffering people of Pakistan."

Shahbaz Bhatti founded the Christian-inspired APMA movement in 1985. One of his first battles was against the law on blasphemy, introduced in 1986 and used to repress religious minorities in the country, with particular focus on the Christian community, the one hardest hit by the new norm.

"I will propose legislative reforms for the promotion and protection of minorities' rights," the Catholic member of parliament adds. "I will speed up efforts to promote unity and understanding to tackle the issues of intolerance, hatred, prejudice and violence." Finally, he thanked president Zardari and prime minister Raza Gilani because they recognize the value of minorities for domestic equilibrium, giving "a sense of equality" in the rights of all components of Pakistani society.

Bhatti embraced the Christian faith as a child, touched by the story of Christ's sacrifice for his people. As a young man, he organized meetings aimed at the study of the Word of God, before dedicating his life to the defense of minorities. He has received numerous recognitions over the course of the years, including the prize for religious liberty received in Finland in 2003, the peace prize given to him by an American organization in 1998, and a prize for his struggle in favor of human rights given to him in Canada the following year. In his work in parliament, he has never forgotten to make the voice of the marginalized and oppressed heard, whose rights he has promoted in every one of his political struggles.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
04/21/2009 PAKISTAN
Archbishop of Lahore: Sharia in the Swat Valley is contrary to Pakistan's founding principles
by Qaiser Felix
08/11/2012 PAKISTAN
Remembering Benazir Bhutto and Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan celebrates minorities
05/20/2011 PAKISTAN
Punjab, anti-Christian violence: nurses sequestered, families evicted from home
by Jibran Khan
07/14/2008 PAKISTAN
Punjab: underage Christian sisters kidnapped and forced to marry Muslims
by Qaiser Felix
09/18/2009 PAKISTAN
Governor of Punjab; the law on blasphemy should be abolished
by Fareed Khan

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.