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Pakistani Bishops to request the Vatican to designate Shahbaz Bhatti title of “Martyr”


Shahbaz Bhatti

In recent days, Supreme Court of Pakistan has directed the Government of Pakistan to bring such reforms in the blasphemy laws so that no one can be entangled in fake blasphemy charges.Pakistani Catholic Bishops plan to request the Vatican to designate Shahbaz Bhatti the title of a martyr.

The campaign for bringing about reforms in the notorious blasphemy laws in Pakistan finally meets some success. A martyred Pakistani Christian leader Shahbaz Bhatti, played an instrumental role in running this campaign and courageously raised his voice against the misuse of blasphemy law against Christians in Pakistan.

A peep into the efforts of Shahbaz Bhatti would reveal that he was great leader and representative of Pakistani Christians. Shahbaz Bhatti, while still alive stated at various occasions that he could loose his life for the sake of raising voice against the blasphemy laws.

Referencing two past statements which he made while interviews with Al-Jazeera and YouTube, he already claimed that he could be killed. He openly expressed that his work for the Christians in Pakistan would eventually end up in his death. He was a thorn in the eyes of terror groups like Al-Qaeda and Taliban.

In an interview recorded weeks before he was brutally assassinated, he stated, “I want to share that I believe in Jesus Christ, who has given his own life for us. I know what is the meaning of the cross and I follow him on the cross.”

“When I’m leading this campaign against the sharia laws for the abolishment of blasphemy law, and speaking for the oppressed and marginalized persecuted Christian and other minorities, these Taliban threaten me. I’m living for my community and suffering people and I will die to defend their rights. So these threats and these warnings cannot change my opinion and principles.”

Acknowledging his courageous endeavours for the marginalised and persecuted Christians in Pakistan, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom awarded him a medallion for actively promoting religious freedom. During his ministry, he also had a chance to meet the then Pope Benedict XVI and discussed religious liberty and inter faith harmony in Pakistan.

Also Read: A Christian girl in Multan Pakistan, burnt for refusing a marriage proposal dies

Unfortunately, on March 2, 2011; this brave Christian leader met a tragic end in as a result of a wave of machine-gun fire onto his car. The government authorities declined his request for a armoured car, despite the fact that his life was at risk.

The assailants left pamphlets after assassinating him at the scene. The pamphlets read that they would keep fighting “all the world’s infidels, crusaders, Jews and their operatives within the Muslim brotherhood. This is the fate of that cursed man. And now, with the grace of Allah, the warriors of Islam will pick you out one by one and send you to hell, God willing.”

Apart from the international recognition, Pakistani Bishops have also embarked upon a task to request the Vatican to designate Shahbaz Bhatti the title of martyr. In a recent conference of Catholic Bishops it will be unanimously reviewed to ask the Vatican to endow Shahbaz Bhatti with the title of a “Martyr.”

Bishop Andrew Francis from Multan Diocese said, “Bhatti was a man who gave his life for his crystalline faith in Jesus Christ. It is up to us, the bishops, to tell his story and experience to the church in Rome, to call for official recognition of his martyrdom.”