Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi attended a ceremony organised in Italy to mark the fifth death anniversary of slain Christian minister Shahbaz Bhatti.
Talking to Vatican News Agency Fides, he shed light on the problems faced by Pakistani Christians. “As Pakistani Christians we face numerous challenges every day: many will have heard of the so-called blasphemy law and the emblematic case of Asia Bibi, an innocent Christian mother sentenced to death. Our daily mission is to bear witness to peace and to love where there is so much violence in this country torn apart by terrorism. As Christians our mission is love and love of Christ helps us not to lose hope.”
Coutts also talked about the prominent minister of minority affairs who was assassinated by Tehrik-e-Taliban who professed to the murder saying that Bhatti was a blasphemer of the Muslim prophet as he talked about repealing the blasphemy laws in Pakistan and stood for Asia Bibi, a poor Christian woman sentenced to death under the accusation of blasphemy.
“He spoke with faith and demonstrated courage. Thanks to him the voice of Pakistan’s Christians was heard. He paved the way for us. He was a good Catholic and gave his life for his mission,” Coutts said of Bhatti.
Just days before Catholic peer, Lord Alton, called on the British Government to do more to protect Pakistani Christians. He said that Christians, Ahmadis and Hindus face a real risk of persecution in Pakistan and that the British Home Office’s Country Information and Guidance about Pakistani Christians and Christian converts did not reflect that reality.
Bhatti was assassinated in 2011, but his murderers still remain unidentified.