News / Asia

Grief-Stricken Pakistanis Bury Slain Minister

Female Pakistani Christians mourn the death of Shahbaz Bhatti, during a rally in his native town Khushpur near Faisalabad, Pakistan, March 4, 2011
Female Pakistani Christians mourn the death of Shahbaz Bhatti, during a rally in his native town Khushpur near Faisalabad, Pakistan, March 4, 2011

Multimedia

Mourners packed a church in Pakistan's capital Friday to pay tribute to the minister for minorities who was assassinated for challenging Pakistan's blasphemy law.

Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian member of the federal Cabinet, was gunned down Wednesday near his home in Islamabad.  The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying they killed the minister because he opposed legislation that imposes the death penalty for insulting Islam.

During Bhatti's funeral mass, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani vowed to "bring the culprits to justice."  Demonstrators outside the Islamabad church also demanded punishment for the minister's killers.

Bhatti's body was taken to his ancestral village of Khushpur for burial.  There, thousands crowded the streets, demanding justice.

Related video footage

Bhatti is the second high profile official to be killed recently for supporting reforms to the blasphemy law. Punjab province's governor, Salman Taseer, was shot dead in January by one of his bodyguards, who cited the politician's opposition to the controversial legislation as justification for the killing.  Bhatti and Taseer's assassinations have drawn international condemnation.

Christians are the largest non-Muslim religious minority in Pakistan, making up about 5 percent of the population.

President Asif Ali Zardari did not attend the mass or the burial.

Security was tightened in both Islamabad and Khushpur.

Meanwhile, some Pakistani lawmakers called for Interior Minister Rehman Malik's resignation on Friday, saying the government failed to protect Bhatti.

Bhatti did not have his security detail with him when he was attacked Wednesday.

Interior Minister Malik said he is willing to step down if investigators determine there was a lapse in security.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid