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Shahbaz Bhatti was a Catholic and a Pakistani minister for the defense of minorities who dedicated his life to the “struggle for human equality, social justice, religious freedom, and to uplift and empower the religious minorities’ communities.” He was assasinated yesterday because of his opposition to the country’s blasphemy law:

Farahnaz Ispahani, an aide to President Zardari, said Mr Bhatti’s murder was part of a “concerted campaign to slaughter every liberal, progressive and humanist voice in Pakistan” and called for the country’s federal and provincial governments to speak out and to take a strong stand against these murderers to save the very essence of Pakistan.”

The Vatican condemned the act as “unspeakable” while the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in a joint statement urged the Pakistan government to “bring to justice those guilty”.

To date Pakistan’s president and prime minister have declined to support the campaign to reform the blasphemy law and, according to former PPP information minister Sherry Rehman, have put pressure on its leading supporters to abandon it.

Here is a brief video in which he confesses belief in Christ and says that he is willing to die for his principles:

Bhatti is the second Pakistani official in the past two months to be killed after publicly opposing the draconian blasphemy laws. How many others in that country will be willing to take his place and speak up for religious freedom?

(Via: Douglas Farrow)

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