Pakistan terror trial in danger of collapse: The Church of England Newspaper, February 14, 2014 March 20, 2014Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Terrorism.
Tags: Shahbaz Bhatti
The trial of two men accused of murdering a Pakistani government minister is in danger of collapsing, after key witnesses fled the country in fear for their lives.
The sole Christian cabinet minister in Prime Minister Yousaf Gillani’s government, Shahbaz Bhatti was assassinated outside his home in Islamabad in March 2011. Two gunmen sprayed the minister’s car with bullets and dropped pamphlets next to his body, denouncing him as a Christian infidel.
Islamabad police arrested Hammad Adil and Umer Abdullah, in September 2012 and charged them with the murder. The two men confessed to the police their guilt in the attack and are being tried by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi
However, the complainant in the case, Shahbaz Bhatti’s brother Paul Bhatti, chairman of the All Pakistan Minority Alliance, has fled to Italy for safety.
“Punjabi Taliban dropped pamphlets at my office in Lahore and warned me of dire consequences for pursuing the murder case of my brother,” he told a Pakistani cable television channel on 8 Feb 2014. But added that: “I will not give up this case despite the threats.”
Mr. Bhatti said he had asked repeatedly for protection from the Interior Ministry and police, but they ignored his requests. His attorney Rana Abdul Hameed told Newsweek International that he too had been threatened for mounting the private prosecution against the killers.
Mr. Hameed also represented Rimsha Masih, the Pakistani Christian girl who had been arrested in 2012 for allegedly desecrating pages of the Koran – but was later found not guilty after police discovered an extremist mullah had fabricated the case — said: “Pamphlets are dropped in my office warning me to disassociate myself from the case.”
“They say you freed Rimsha, now you are trying to convict our comrades, you should be taught a lesson.”
He added: “Paul Bhatti is abroad. He cannot come to Pakistan. Our witness has been threatened. We are receiving constant threats. What can you then expect from the case? It won’t go anywhere.”