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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid