ASIA/PAKISTAN - The trial for the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti is moving slowly

Wednesday, 30 November 2016 terrorism   violence   armed groups   blasphemy   human rights   religious minorities  


Islamabad (Agenzia Fides) - The anti-terrorism Military Court in Islamabad issued a forced subpoena for seven witnesses who did not present themselves in the trial for the murder of Catholic minister Shahbaz Bhatti, killed on March 4, 2011 in Islamabad. The witnesses will have to appear before a judge at the next hearing scheduled on December 7.
"Five years have gone by and the Pakistani justice is moving slowly: the murderers of the Catholic minister have not been brought to justice", notes a source of Fides. Well-known defender of human rights in Pakistan, Bhatti was brutally murdered in Islamabad while he was in his car near his home. The murder was claimed by the terrorist group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, who left a leaflet describing him as "a Christian infidel" at the scene of the crime.
"After the killing of Bhatti - note the sources of Fides in Islamabad - the political leadership in Pakistan is not doing enough to ask the police and the judiciary to ensure his killers to justice". Christians in Pakistan fear impunity for the killers. In 2014 another court - before the case was transferred, in 2015 before a military court - Umer Abdullah was released on bail, the main accused in the murder case of former federal minister. Abdullah, who confessed the murder of Bhatti, is also accused of killing prosecutor Chaudary Zulfiqar in 2013, who was prosecutor in the case of another famous murder, that of the leader Benazir Bhutto. Shot in the back by the magistrate’s body guard, Abdullah is now paralyzed and was released on bail for medical reasons.
Among the other suspects arrested for Bhatti’s murder, Zia-ul-Rehman was acquitted in May 2012 for lack of evidence. In August 2013 Hammad Adil and Muhammad Tanveer, two militants of the "Tehreek-e-Taliban" group, were arrested by the police for the attempted attack on a Shiite mosque and, during the investigation, Adil confessed to having organized and carried out the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti, with Muhammad Tanveer and Umer Abdullah’s car. According to investigators, Adil guarded the minister's house and prepared the plan, while Tanveer provided the AK-47 rifles and other weapons used in the ambush. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 30/11/2016)