rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » Pak PM attends Bhatti's funeral service

Pak PM attends Bhatti's funeral service

Last updated on: March 4, 2011 20:31 IST

Pak PM attends Bhatti's funeral service

     Next

Next
Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani paid homage to slain Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti at a memorial service at a church attended by scores of people, as Christians protested for the second straight day against his killing and demanded arrest of his assassins

During the memorial service at the heavily-guarded Fatima Church in Islamabad, Gilani stood silently and offered prayers for Bhatti, the only Christian member of his Cabinet who was shot dead by Taliban militants on Wednesday for opposing the controversial blasphemy law.

Apart from Bhatti's family, the service was attended by several federal ministers, parliamentarians, foreign envoys, including the US Ambassador and British High Commissioner besides leading members of the minority Christian community.


Image: People gather near the casket of Pakistan's Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, wrapped in national and party flags, after a funeral ceremony inside a church in Islamabad
Photographs: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters
     Next

Bhatti was assassinated by Taliban terrorists

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
A large number of Christians, who had gathered outside the church, condemned Bhatti's assassination as they offered prayers for him.

They asked the community members to protest peacefully against Bhatti's killing and demanded that the government should conduct a speedy probe into the incident and punish his killers.

Bhatti was assassinated by Taliban terrorists a short distance from his home in Islamabad on Wednesday. The banned Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing, saying Bhatti was assassinated for challenging the blasphemy law.


Image: Jerald Bhatti, a brother of Pakistan's slain Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, stands next to his casket, wrapped in national and party flags, during a funeral ceremony inside a church in Islamabad
Photographs: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters
Prev     Next

Bhatti's body will be buried at his native village

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
Bhatti's body will be buried at his native village of Khushpur in Faisalabad in Punjab province.

The body will be flown in a helicopter to Khushpur, wher another memorial service will be conducted at a church. Black flags flew over most homes in Khushpur and banners across the village condemned his killing.

People organised protests and demanded the arrest of Bhatti's killers. The protesters, including dozens of women, marched in procession in Khushpur and Faisalabad. Protests against the assassination were organised for the second day on Friday in Faisalabad, Sargodha, Multan and Hyderabad.

During a debate on Bhatti's assassination in the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament, Jamshed Dasti, a lawmaker of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, joined the opposition in criticising the functioning of Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

Dasti said if he had been the Interior Minister, he would have quit after Bhatti's assassination. Any politician would have quit the post after such an incident, he said.


Image: Women hold a picture of Pakistan's slain Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti as they mourn near his family residence in the village of Khushpur
Photographs: Mian Khursheed/Reuters
Prev     Next

Pakistan's National Assembly didn't condemn Bhatti's murder

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
Pakistan's National Assembly has failed to come up with a joint resolution condemning the assassination of Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, repeating its failure to formally condemn the murder of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer two months ago.

Both Bhatti and Taseer were killed by radical elements for seeking reforms in the country's controversial blasphemy law a touchy subject which has placed the PPP-led government on the backfoot after religious hardliners warned they would not accept any changes in the statute.

Members of the treasury and opposition benches in the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament staged a token walkout yesterday to protest against Bhatti's assassination on Wednesday.

After several lawmakers demanded a period of mourning for Bhatti, the only Christian member of the Cabinet, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced a three-day mourning. However, the Parliament did not adopt any joint resolution condemning Bhatti's assassination.

The House had earlier failed to formally condemn Taseer's murder by a police guard on January 4.


Image: Christian youths bleed after hitting themselves as they shout slogans to condemn the assassination of Pakistani Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti near his house in the village of Khushpur
Photographs: Mian Khursheed/Reuters
Prev     Next

'Legislators fear antagonising the extremists'

Prev     More
Prev

More
"That there was no attempt made to introduce such a resolution, even by the so-called liberal parties, will be seen by many as a sign that legislators fear antagonising the extremists," The Express Tribune newspaper reported today.

Asia Nasir, a Christian member of the National Assembly from the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, set the tone for the day when she addressed the portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah overlooking the House and pleaded for him to notice the state of minorities in Pakistan.

"At the time of the creation of Pakistan, we were all one. But today, we feel we are out," said Nasir. Akram Masih Gill, another Christian lawmaker from the PML-Q, quoted a saying of the Prophet Mohammed about protecting minorities and held the government responsible for Bhatti's murder.

"He (Bhatti) was not provided adequate security despite repeated requests," he said. "We pay equal taxes yet we are discriminated against. No one from the minorities can become the President or Prime Minister. Today, our children want to leave this country as they feel more insecure than ever."

Abdul Qadir Baloch of the PML-N played down an attempt by lawmakers of religious parties, including Attaur Rehman of JUI, to link Bhatti's killing to the case of arrested American national Raymond Davis, a suspected CIA contractor, or a "foreign hand".

"I fail to understand why it is being associated with the Davis case. These are our own failings and we should admit it," said Baloch, a retired General.


Image: Christians hold a cross and a poster of slain Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, during a protest in Hyderabad to condemn his assassination
Photographs: Akram Shahid/Reuters
Prev     More
© Copyright 2014 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.