ASIA/PAKISTAN - Paul Bhatti: re-establish the Ministry of Minorities, recalling Shahbaz

Thursday, 25 February 2016 blasphemy   religious minorities   dialogue  

Islamabad (Agenzia Fides) – Re-establish the Ministry of Minorities in Pakistan, an organization that at a federal level takes care of the representation of religious minorities: is the proposal that Paul Bhatti launches on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the death of Shahbaz Bhatti, his brother, the minister assassinated in Islamabad on March 2, 2011.
In an interview with Agenzia Fides, Paul Bhatti said that with the "Shahbaz Bhatti Foundation Trust" and with the local Catholic Church in Pakistan celebrations and events are being organized tin memory of his brother, in view of the anniversary on 2 March. In the cathedral of Islamabad a Holy Mass on the evening of March 1 will be celebrated, presided over by Bishop Rufin Anthony, while on March 2 a conference will be held with a memorial service attended by Catholic Bishops and other denominations, Muslim leaders, civilian representatives from all over Pakistan to honor the memory of Shahbaz.
Bhatti tells Fides: "At our request, former president Asif Ali Zardari had created the Ministry of National Harmony, then absorbed in the Ministry of Religious Affairs. I will write to current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and urge him to re-establish the special department that deals with minorities", he said. "When it existed – says Bhatti, who was the last representative to guide it - the ministry carried out a valuable role of institutional mediation and dialogue between all the components of society, to build harmony. Re-establishing it would also serve to improve the country's image abroad".
Paul Bhatti, who is also president of the "All Pakistan Minorities Alliance", reported that with the APMA, organization once headed by his brother, will undertake to asking the government to remove existing discriminatory elements in the Constitution and in Pakistani laws. On the delicate issue of the law on blasphemy, Bhatti said: "Today there is greater political sensitivity and some parties like the Pakistan People's Party have spoken of the need to introduce changes to the law. We hope that these proposals will make us move forward, to avoid those abuses of the law that cause suffering to many innocent people". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 25/02/2016)