Shahbaz Bhatti on an aid mission.
Bishop Sebastian Shaw, Apostolic Administrator of Lahore, told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that almost two years on no one had been tried for his murder – and gave his blessing to a 3rd March event in London commemorating Mr Bhatti’s life and work.
Bishop Shaw said: “Nothing has happened yet, but we ask the government of
that the killers be arrested
and brought to justice.” Pakistan
Mr Bhatti, federal minister for minority affairs, was murdered in
March 2011 after calling for clemency for Asia Bibi, the first woman to be
sentenced to death under the country’s blasphemy
Abid Malik, who was arrested on suspicion of Mr Bhatti’s murder, was cleared of the charge in February 2012.
Bishop Shaw said that a few months ago the press in
suggested his killer may
have been from outside the country. Pakistan
He added: “We are very sad for what has happened to Shahbaz Bhatti, who was martyred.
“At the same time I request that all people should pray and have respect for human dignity, because God has made us to praise him through our prayer and the belief we have in him, the one God.”
Bishop Shaw gave his encouragement to people to attend the multi-faith event on Saturday 3rd March, remembering Shahbaz Bhatti and calling for an end to the suffering caused by
The day’s events will begin with an inter-denominational Christian service at 11am outside the Pakistan High Commission in Knightsbridge.
This will be followed by the presentation of a petition to
Street and the day concludes with an inter-faith peace concert in
Square starting at 3pm.
Bishop Shaw said: “I encourage all people who are participating in the march to continue to support people who stand for their faith and at the same time are influenced by their faith they work for building of a society where people live in peace and harmony.”
Bishop Shaw’s plea for Mr Bhatti’s killers to be caught was echoed by Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association.
Mr Chowdhry said: “We have to make sure that our main focus is justice. Those who killed Shahbaz have not been brought to justice.”
Mr Chowdhry added: “The
government has a lot to
answer for. The fact that the killers have so far escaped justice is a blight on
“We should highlight the need that something needs to be done.”
Mr Chowdhry will be one of the speakers on 3rd March – along with Aid to the Church in Need (UK)’s John Pontifex, who has travelled widely in
seeing first hand the
problems faced by the country’s Christians. Pakistan
Speakers from non-Christian organisations include Upkar Rai of the British Sikh Council, Ranbir Singh of the Hindu Human Rights Group and Imam Dr Hargey of the Oxford Islamic Congregation.
The events on Saturday, 3rd March 2013 begin with a one-hour inter-denominational service at 11am outside the
Churchgoers attending a mass for Shahbaz Bhatti at Sacred Heart Cathedral Lahore.