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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid