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Govt report blames Al Qaeda for Bhatti murder: The Church of England Newspaper, July 8, 2011 p 7. July 10, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Persecution.
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Shahbaz Bhatti

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Al-Qaeda terrorists murdered the Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani Ministry of the Interior has concluded.

Theories the sole Christian in Pakistan’s cabinet was murdered in a personal dispute unrelated to his faith have been dismissed by the government, the dead man’s brother Paul Bhatti reports.

The investigation is now focused on an al-Qaeda cell in Pakistan known as “Brigade 313” led by Taliban leader Ilyas Kashmiri.

On 2 March, Mr Bhatti, a 42-year-old Roman Catholic, was leaving his home when a gunman sprayed his car with 20 bullets. He died while being transported to the Shifa Hospital in Islamabad. The government minister was usually accompanied by security guards, but he had told them that day not to accompany him.

Last year Mr Bhatti told a public meeting “when I’m leading this campaign against the Sharia laws and for the abolishment of the blasphemy law and speaking for the oppressed and for the persecuted Christians and other minorities, these Taliban threaten me.

“I’m ready to die for a cause. I’m living for my community and suffering people and I will die to defend their rights,” said Mr Bhatti, the chairman of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance. “I will prefer to die for my principles and for the justice of my community rather to compromise.”

Speaking to the Fides news service Paul Bhatti said the investigations into his brother’s murder were “finally on the right track: it is the work carried out by the Taliban and Islamic fanatics. Now we are waiting for the capture of the perpetrators of the crime, who are in Dubai.”

Minister of Interior Rehman Malik has issued a warrant for the killers and is seeking the assistance of the Dubai government to round up the accused.

The Commission of Inquiry set up by the Interior Ministry concluded that Brigade 313 contracted the killing out to a Taliban leader in the Punjab, who used members of the ‘Tehrik-e-Islami’ and a faction of the ‘Ghazi Force in Islamabad’ to kill the minorities minister, Mr Bhatti said.

“After the sidetracking of the inquiry and attempts of reducing the charge of murder due to personal enmity, slinging mud at my brother, the truth is emerging: we were convinced that he was killed for his commitment to human rights, the rights of Christians, for the brave denunciation against the blasphemy law,” he said.

“Now the investigation proves us right. We are hoping for a rapid conclusion, with the capture of the perpetrators of the crime. It would be a good sign for the health of the state of law in Pakistan,” Mr Bhatti said.

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