27 January, 2015 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
09/18/2009 PAKISTAN
Governor of Punjab; the law on blasphemy should be abolished
by Fareed Khan
07/14/2008 PAKISTAN
Punjab: underage Christian sisters kidnapped and forced to marry Muslims
by Qaiser Felix

Editor's choices
IRAQ
The children of Mosul and the future: the "five-star" refugee camp
by Bernardo CervelleraIn the garden of the parish of Mar Elia beside the tents there are containers that serve as classrooms for the children and as a library. Another serves as a room for sewing. A children's choir. Fr. Douglas: "Taking care of refugees does not just mean thinking about eating, drinking, medicines, injections, vaccinations ... The displaced persons need to do something and to cultivate hope."
IRAQ
Way of the Cross: the refugees from Mosul beyond the emergency
by Bernardo CervelleraThere are at least half a million people who have taken refuge in Kurdistan to flee from ISIS. In the Shlama Mall at Erbil: 350 people living in the skeleton of a building under construction, with draped sheets and blankets serving as walls. The ordination of a young man, also a refugee, shows that with the flight, there is something that has not been destroyed: the faith, the traditions, the priesthood.
IRAQ - VATICAN
As 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' continues, Mosul bishop notes that Jesus is born amid refugee containers
by Amel NonaPersecuted by the Islamic state, refugees have lost everything: belongings, home, jobs, school, and their future. Yet, their faith and mission remain strong. For them, almost 900,000 euros have been raised and sent. Pope Francis sends a message of closeness. The campaign continues according to the Patriarch of Baghdad's proposal of fasting and moderation at Christmas and New Year, with the money saved offered to the Christians of Mosul.

Dossier

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