April 10, 2011. (Romereports.com)
Paul Bhatti is the brother of Shahbaz Bhatti, who was the first
Christian to serve as a minister for the government of Pakistan. Shahbaz
was gunned down by Islamic extremists on March 2 for his stance against
the country's blasphemy law and his support of Asia Bibi, the woman who
has been sentenced to death for violating this law.
Paul says that his family has forgiven his brother's killers because forgiveness is what the Christian faith teaches. And he hopes that the life of Shahbaz will be remembered for his work in promoting peace.Paul Bhatti
Chairman of All Pakistan Minorities Alliance“He is not only martyred for Christianity, he is martyred for the humanity because he was fighting for the basic human rights. And he had been helping many non-Christian people also when they were under difficulty. So his message of his efforts was that for the persons who need peace.”
Paul Bhatti recently traveled to Rome to meet with different religious leaders and to remember the death of his brother.
They discussed the best way to arrive at a peaceful solution over the blasphemy law and the best way to move forward in a country where tension over religion has often resulted in violence in the past. Syed Muhammad Abdul Khabir Azad
Grand Imam Badshahi Mosque, Lahore (Pakistan)“Yes I do admit that unfortunately there are some people who are not Muslim, they do not represent Islam, and they are creating problems for the people and citizens of Pakistan and distorting the image of Pakistan in the world.”Msgr. Joseph Coutts
Bishop of Faisalabad (Pakistan)“I mean changes don´t come suddenly. An event like this does influence the course of events and such a tragic incident that struck the whole country. We've got to build on that, we've got to take it forward really, I don´t see the change coming by itself and I don´t see it coming so soon.”
Paul Bhatti and the Grand Imam from Lahore, Pakistan met with Benedict XVI at the Vatican. Bhatti asked the pope to continue supporting the Christians of Pakistan, saying that the biggest problem they face is a lack of religious freedom due to the blasphemy law.
Bhatti was recently named as the chairman to Pakistan's All Minority Alliance and hopes to carry on his brother's work of fighting for the freedom of religion.Paul Bhatti
Chairman of All Pakistan Minorities Alliance“The message of his efforts was that for the persons who need peace, who need their own rights, who need their freedom, who need freedom of expression in society. So as the Christian community was more victimized by that, he worked more for that reason.”
The assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti has left a tragic mark on the people of Pakistan. It's a mark that the Bhatti family hopes will remind others of the message of peace between all people that to which Shahbaz committed his life.