Pakistani Christian Minister Killed Over Blasphemy Law
The blasphemy law claims another ministerial life in Pakistan, as the minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti was killed on Wednesday by gunmen, who are reported to have fled the scene without hurting the driver of the minister.
The driver rushed to the nearby hospital in an attempt to save his life, but as soon as they reached there the minister was pronounced dead.
According to police authorities, the man was shot at close range several times soon after he left home for work.
The man was a member of the ruling party of the president Zardari and was the only Christian member of the government.
He had received threats against his life because of the stance on the controversial law that punishes the alleged blasphemies against Allah and His Prophet, and was often considered a tool of oppression against religious minorities, especially Christians.
At the beginning of the year, charismatic Governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer was gunned down by his bodyguard for having proposed the revising of the text of blasphemy law.
The killer appeared before court showered with flowers like a great hero by many people who saw his action as an act of faith.
At the beginning of the year, the Pope Benedict XVI urged Pakistan to revisit the controversial law, reminding the authorities in Islamabad the Christians are citizens of the country, too, and so are the Christians all over the world, in all the countries where their expression of faith is deemed as a blasphemy.
One of the most famous cases that captured the attention of the entire world was that of Asia Bibi, the woman who was convicted for blasphemy and expects either execution by hanging or presidential pardon.
The picture with her nose being cut off made it to the front page of magazines all over the world, being considered one of the most spectacular 10 pictures in 2010.11