News / Asia

Pakistanis, World Leaders Protest Minister's Assassination

Wasif Ali Khan, a friend of Pakistan's government minister for religious minorities Shahbaz Bhatti looks at the bullet-riddled window of car while he mourns over his death, Islamabad, Pakistan, March 2, 2011.
Wasif Ali Khan, a friend of Pakistan's government minister for religious minorities Shahbaz Bhatti looks at the bullet-riddled window of car while he mourns over his death, Islamabad, Pakistan, March 2, 2011.

Grief-stricken Pakistanis are protesting the assassination of the country's minister for minorities who was a vocal opponent of Pakistan's blasphemy law.

Shahbaz Bhatti was the only Christian in the federal Cabinet. Assassins gunned him down Wednesday as he traveled in a car in Islamabad.

Taliban leaflets were found on the scene, warning against changes to the blasphemy law.

Bhatti told VOA last month about threats from the Taliban and al-Qaida. But he said he would not let them deter him from standing up for the rights of Christians and other minorities.

Pakistan's blasphemy law carries the death penalty for insulting Islam. But critics say it is used to stifle free speech and settle grudges and business disputes,

Bhatti supporters, including members of the country's Christian minority, are demanding the government to bring the killers to justice. Interior Minister Rehman Malik ordered increased security for federal ministers.

U.S. President Barack Obama said he is deeply saddened and said Bhatti sacrificed his life for the universal value to practice religion as one wishes.

The Vatican said the attack was a “terribly grave act of violence,” and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the killing and urged the Pakistani government to protect minority rights.

In January, the governor of Punjab province, Salman Taseer, was assassinated by his own bodyguard.  Bhatti praised the slain governor for speaking out against the misuse of the Islamic law of blasphemy, and told VOA the killing was a barbaric act.

Bhatti also spoke out in defense of a Christian mother of five who was sentenced to death last year for blaspheming Islam. Pakistan's Christians make up less than 5 percent of the country's 175 million people and have long complained of discrimination.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid