05/14/2012, 00.00
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Bhatti murder: no progress in investigation. Disappointment of his brother Paul

by Jibran Khan
Police have released Zia ur Rehman, after issuing an international arrest warrant against him. Paul Bhatti dissatisfied with the work of the police. He denounces a lack of interest in punishing "the real culprits." Solidarity with lawyer and activist of Sindh, the victim of threats for his work on protection of minorities.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - There has been no significant progress in investigation into the murder Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistani Minister for Religious Minorities killed with 30 gunshot wounds 2 March 2011. In recent days, the police issued the (second) alleged murderer, after issuing an international arrest warrant against him and obtaining his extradition from Dubai (see AsiaNews 14/02/2012, Islamabad: Shahbaz Bhatti's alleged murderer in prison, awaiting interrogation). However, lack of significant proof against Zia ur Rehman meant he could leave jail. Paul Bhatti, brother of the Catholic politician and current Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for National Harmony, on behalf of the family and the entire Christian community speaks of their "dissatisfaction" in investigations conducted thus far and the failure to punish the "real culprits" more than one year from the crime.

In an interview with AsiaNews, Paul Bhatti does not hide the disappointment at the actions of prosecutors and the judiciary, perhaps unwilling to identify the perpetrators of the death of Shahbaz. "We saw the arrest of Zia ur Rehman as a ray of hope - he says - because the police issued an international arrest warrants based on evidence." The current adviser on National Harmony can not understand why "they issued the request, unless there is objective evidence of guilt." He appeals to the government, which is a component, manifesting all the "disappointment" in investigations and reaffirms his intention to "continue the struggle begun by Shahbaz".

During the interview, Bhatti also clarified the "misunderstanding" of his statement, in which he spoke of forgiving the murderers of Shahbaz. In this regard, he states that "the murderer shall be forgiven, when his identity is known." "They have distorted my intentions - he says - we are waiting for the outcome of investigations and, once we get hold of the right person, we will decide what to do."

The advisor for National Harmony finally condemns threats against Saleem Khursheed Khokhar, Chairman of the Committee for the protection of minorities in the southern province of Sindh. The man, a member of the Provincial Assembly and leading member of the Sindh Bar, was the victim of intimidation and threatening messages for his work to protect non-Muslims and persons deprived of their basic rights. His professional and social commitment has also led to the promulgation of 21 resolutions in the provincial parliament, including the 2012 law on the property of religious minorities.

Bishop Rufin Anthony of Islamabad / Rawalpindi sends a message of solidarity in favor of Saleem Khursheed Khokhar, demanding "immediate action" to protect his safety. Finally, the prelate condemns the inaction of police and government authorities, unable to promote "serious investigations" on the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti and, who perhaps, "not interested in shedding light on the matter."


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See also
"We are optimistic," says Paul Bhatti as Rimsha Masih's bail hearing postponed to Friday
Pakistani Christians and civil society celebrate Shahbaz Bhatti as more violence strikes Islamabad
Paul Bhatti: Muslims and minorities, innocent victims of extremism Pakistan
APMA "unanimously" expels Christian MP Pervaiz Rafique
Shahbaz Bhatti, failure and rebirth


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