ASIA/PAKISTAN - “Politics as a service”: a testimony by the spiritual father of Shahbaz Bhatti
Islamabad (Agenzia Fides) – “Recognising his gifs of leadership and concern for the good of the Catholic Church in Pakistan, I encouraged his studies and involvement in politics. Although he had little desire to so, he decided to play an active part in politics in order to protect the country’s Christians and other minorities. A man of great commitment he decided not to marry. He lived a life of celibacy. He had no possessions and saw his activity as a service. I believe that Clement Shahbaz Bhatti was a dedicated lay Catholic martyred for his faith ”: this testimony was given to Fides, in April of 2012 by Bishop Anthony Lobo emeritus of Islamabad, who died in 2013. Bishop Lobo, Bhatti‘s spiritual father, describes for “future memory”, the life and commitment of Shahbaz Bhatti, a member of the Pakistani parliament and a Catholic, brutally assassinated by a terrorist in Islamabad on 2 March 2011.
The document, consigned to Pakistani Mobeen Shahid, today a professor at the Lateran University in Rome, will be added to other testimony which the diocese of Islamabad is collecting for the preliminary enquiry in a diocesan process in view of declaring Bhatti a “martyr”. “Bhatti lived his political activity in the spirit of a follower of Christ, sequela Christi” Mobeen told Fides, “working to promote full integration in society for Pakistan’s Christians and enable them to contribute towards the development of their country. He felt truly Pakistani and fought any kind of fundamentalism. He realised he was in danger but went ahead in his intent” the testimony concludes. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 2/3/2016)