“I believe in Jesus Christ who has given his own life for us, and I am ready to die for a cause. I’m living for my community … and I will die to defend their rights.” Shehbaz Bhatti the ultimate hero and great leader of our community.
Clement Shahbaz Bhatti was born on 9 September 1968.His father, Jacob Bhatti belonged to village of Kushpur and was an honest and patriotic person. His father entered in the field of education as a teacher and also remained as Chairman of the board of the Churches of Kushpur. In 2010 he was hospitalized in Islamabad and died on January 10, 2001 due to cardiac arrest.
Shahbaz Bhatti, after completing his studies, entered in the field of politics by joining Pakistan People’s Party in 2002.Shebaz Bhatti was roman catholic and the only Christian in the Cabinet.Shebaz Bhatti was unmarried. He had four brothers and one sister. He helped to found APMA (All Pakistan Minorities Alliance) in 1985 and became chairperson , APMA is a representative organization of all religious minorities of the country including Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis and others. Bhatti was the first Christian parliamentarian who was offered and took oath as Federal Minister of Minorities Affairs in Pakistan. His predecessors had been offered only a state minister position.
He was appointed as Federal Minister for Minorities.Shahbaz Bhatti was true follower of Jesus Christ and always worked for marginalized communities and religious minorities in Pakistan. As a political leader, he had continuously asked minority groups to fight for their rights through the system instead of using violence. He was considered great admirer of Pakistan’s founder Jinnah and a true patriot.
As federal minister, Bhatti took serious steps to ensure the safety, rights and empower religious minorities while in office:
In 2002, he banned the sale of properties belonging to minorities while law enforcement authorities took action against them
- Supported the revisions of the Blasphemy Law by the end of 2010
- Supported repeal for discriminatory laws that affected minority groups
- Launched national campaign to promote interfaith and harmony through seminars, awareness groups, and workshop.
- Had planned to introduce legislation that would ban hate speech and hate literature
- Proposed to the Ministry of Education to introduce comparative religion courses as a curriculum subject
- A five per cent quota was given for all government jobs to minorities
- Four reserved senate seats
- Religious holidays and festivals are recognized by the government and respected.
- Made August 11th Minority Day in Pakistan
- Prayer room for non-Muslims in the prison system
- A 24-hour crisis hotline to report acts of violence against minorities
- A campaign to protect religious artifacts and sites that belong to minorities
42 year old Shebaz Bhatti was assassinated in 2011.Shebaz Bhatti recieved constant death threats after the Gojra incident in 2006 and they even increased when he supports the Asia Bibi issue. On March 2,2011 he was killed when he was coming back after meeting his mother, a terrorist group riddled his car with bullets.He was taken to the nearby hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival.The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing, saying the minister had been “punished” for being a blasphemer.
Witnesses said the attackers scattered leaflets signed by “The Qaeda and the Taliban of Punjab” at the attack scene, which read: “This is the punishment of this cursed man.”
Taliban militants had called for Bhatti’s death because of his attempts to amend the blasphemy law.
“He was a blasphemer like Salman Taseer,” spokesman Sajjad Mohmand said by telephone from an undisclosed location.
Shehbaz Bhatti himself foretold his death and recorded a video, which was to be released in case of his death, where he said “I believe in Jesus Christ who has given his own life for us, and I am ready to die for a cause. I’m living for my community … and I will die to defend their rights.”
With his death, we lost our most prominent advocate. We aknowleged his commitment for making justice and equality a reality in the lives of Pakistan’s minorities.We pay tribute to Shahbaz Bhatti, whom we miss dearly, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.We continue to draw inspiration from his commitment both as a grassroots activist and a politician, he was a real hero and man of his words.
From : Sana