The family of assassinated Minister Shahbaz Bhatti is all set to open a vocational training center for Christian women in Khushpur village, in District Faisalabad. On 2 March, 2011 two assassins sprayed the Christian minister’s car with gunfire, killing him on the scene before they scattered pamphlets that described him as a “Christian infidel”. Shahbaz Bhatti was serving as the Minister for Minorities, and was a stern critic of blasphemy laws.
This vocational training center will be named as “The Saint Anthony of Padua training center” will offer vocational training for Christian women and girls. This center will be located in the Shahbaz Bhatti Complex, in Khuspur village. The center will be offering courses like sewing, midwifery etc will not become operational until November. In this regard, a garments factory in Sialkot is already working which is giving sewing training to 40 Christian women.
Parish priest of the St Fidelis church in Khuspur village, told World Watch Monitor that: “Our women are being harassed by members of the majority community. In particular, those who work as domestic workers are often accused of stealing money, gold or jewelry. The situation of poor Muslim women is not different. The new center is a great opportunity for the women of the village.”
Clement Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s first federal minister of minorities’ affairs. Some of his feats included establishing prayer rooms for religious minorities in several governmental institutions of Pakistan. He played instrumental role in establishing special quotas for religious minorities in government jobs, also got four seats of Senate allocated for minorities’ members. It was his efforts that resulted in establishment of committees for inter religious dialogue so as to do away with religion-based violence.
To this day, Shahbaz Bhatti remains a source of inspiration not only for Christians but for unbelievers too. His stature has only grown after death as Pakistani Christians demand that he should be declared a martyr and saint. From serving as an altar boy this unrelenting champion of his faith rose as a human rights campaigner politician to a government minister.
“As a Christian, I believe Jesus is my strength. He has given me a power and wisdom and motivation to serve suffering humanity. I follow the principles of my conscience, and I am ready to die and sacrifice my life for the principles I believe,” Shahbaz Bhatti told media sometime before being assassinated.