Visit our new British Pakistani Christians website

Visit our new British Pakistani Christians website
This site will no longer publish new material. Please join our new website

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Academics, politicians and leading Catholic Clergy paid homage to Shahbaz Bhatti on the anniversary of his death

Standing united at the Altar of St Bartholomew's Basilica.

Academics, Politicians and Senior Clergy from the Catholic World gathered to pay homage to the slain Pakistani Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti on the Anniversary of his death.  The Memorial was organised by Shahid Mobeen of Pakistani Christians in Italy . Guest speakers included Minister Plenipotentiary Gabriele Checchia the Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan and Tehmina Janjua, Ambassador of Pakistan to Italy, Albania, San Marino and Slovenia. The memorial event was on 2nd March 2012 held at the Vatican University the academic centre of excellence for the Catholic world.  

Guest speakers shared their memories of Pakistan's latest martyr Shahbaz Bhatti and his indomitable spirit that saw him overcome significant threats when speaking out for minorities in Pakistan and promoting interfaith harmony amongst all citizens of Pakistan.  In their descriptions a common theme was how his work was not limited to minorities but in particular focused on how his visits abroad contributed to the bridge building with Pakistan and other nations.

Pakistani Ambassador Tehmina Janjua said;
"The loss of Shahbaz Bhatti is not just a loss to Pakistan but a loss for the whole world". At the memorial she revealed plans to create a new University in the name of Shahbaz Bhatti to honour him and his faith that education could lift Pakistani's out of it's current nadir.
Shahbaz Bhatti was a strong advocate for the use of education as a tool to lever the necessary change for a more culturally harmonious society in Pakistan.  In his various visits to religious and academic establishments across Pakistan and more globally, he challenged young people to learn and to contribute to a better society.  
Francesca Milano an Italian author described her new biography of Shahbaz Bhatti titled "Death of a blasphemer" in which she has described the anguish and pain he felt at the treatment of vulnerable minorities.  She spoke of the threats to his life and his determination to continue his work, despite a real belief that it would cause the early termination of his life.

Wilson Chowdhry from the British Pakistani Christian Association was invited as a guest and was thanked with an ovation for his contribution to the humanitarian cause for Pakistan.
Later the same evening a memorial service was held at the Basilica of Bartholomew on the Island, located at Tiber Island.  The service was a sombre affair attended by over 150 people of whom many held Pakistani origin.  A description of a Martyrs painting recently completed set the tone of the event as those gathered remembered Martyrs from the 20th-21st century.  A shrine was revealed which contained the bible of Shahbaz Bhatti encased in glass used as a focal point to remember his life and sacrifice.

Speaking after the memorial Wilson said:
"Today we paid tribute to a great humanitarian and one of Pakistan's most progressive statesmen, no amount of words can do justice to Shahbaz who sacrificed his life in protecting others.  Great speakers have tried to express the great sorrow they feel and to console those who knew him yet still the pain of his loss persists.  Today in Pakistan a landmark achievement of 4 minority Senators, newly elected marks the culmination of his work.  27 Bullets penetrated his body yet they have not killed his memory; in the UK Catholic Group Ooberfuse have released a tribute song, in the American Senate, Irish and UK Parliaments today has been marked  as a day of remembrance of this great visionary.  Quite simply his compassion and love have infused a new generation of humanitarians both in Pakistan and the wider world and his exemplary vision will survive through posterity.

Shahid Mobeen said:

"The Association of Pakistani Christians in Italy together with the Pontifical Lateran University and the Association of the Parliamentary Friends of Pakistan organized a commemoration of Shahbaz Bhatti, martyr of faith who served his nation and people till his death. This commemoration in the Vatican was intended to be a tribute of the friends Shahbaz had in Rome. 

The Pontifical Lateran University will be visiting the Federal ministry for National Harmony in April to study the possibility of promoting inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue in collaboration with the State Universities and Institutions. The delegation will be headed by Mons. Gianfranco Basti and Prof. Mobeen Shahid, director of the project for Pakistan. Shahbaz believed strongly that only education can be a remedy for the trend of extremism and the way to create a culture of harmony." 

No comments:

Post a Comment