Minister’s murder: Pamphlet makes motives obvious

Published: March 4, 2011
Pamphlets were reportedly dropped at the ambush site by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Punjab.

Pamphlets were reportedly dropped at the ambush site by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Punjab.


The writing on the pamphlets scattered around Tuesday’s crime scene made the motive obvious: the Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs (late) Shahbaz Bhatti was killed in Islamabad for supporting amendments to the blasphemy laws.

His death comes nearly two months after Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer’s assassination. In the aftermath of the case of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who was given the death sentence for allegedly committing blasphemy, Taseer, Bhatti and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) member of the National Assembly Sherry Rehman came under fire by religious-political parties. The PPP distanced itself from Taseer and Rehman, who had submitted a bill in the National Assembly proposing amendments in the blasphemy law.

In January, a flyer distributed in Karachi prior to a rally against any changes in the blasphemy laws said that Bhatti and Rehman had “provoked the religious honour of Pakistan’s Muslims”.

In November, President Asif Ali Zardari had asked Bhatti to form a committee to review the blasphemy laws. After countrywide protests against any amendments or repeal in the laws, the government said no committee had been constituted.

A report by Bhatti on Aasia Bibi’s case concluded that she had not criticised Islam and was innocent. He had also supported amending the blasphemy laws which have been criticised by human rights activists.

Christians have consistently been the target of discrimination and violence in Pakistan. In 2009, riots in Gojra, Punjab over an alleged case of blasphemy saw eight Christians burnt alive and one shot dead. In 1997, Lahore High Court judge Arif Iqbal Bhatti, who had acquitted two Christians accused of blasphemy in 1995, was shot dead as he left the court.

In 1998, Bishop John Joseph killed himself outside a court in Sahiwal to draw attention to the case of Ayub Masih, who had been convicted on blasphemy charges.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 4th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • saher
    Mar 4, 2011 - 11:26AM

    ummiid-e-shifaa bhii nahiin biimaar ko tere
    Allaah se maayuus huaa bhii nahii.n jaataa Recommend

  • Arsalana
    Mar 4, 2011 - 11:56AM

    Good work on enemy Int Agency. But they exposed themselves due a mistake.

    No Muslim can throw a paper on ground on which the name of Holy Prophet is written.

    It is obvious that they were Not what they are portraying.

    TTP sponsor are invloved and the want Reymond Devis to be released.

    It is yet another dirty game of CIA + RAW. Recommend

  • Ussi
    Mar 4, 2011 - 1:04PM

    @Arsalana: agreed but this report seemed biased. actually media persons decided to give their own verdict without any satisfactory/impartial investigation. that’s pathetic Recommend

  • saad
    Mar 4, 2011 - 3:20PM

    @Arsalana yes brother its RAW or CIA saazish. many indian people in this forum comment with muslim names and create confusions among innocent pakistanis. no one can question islamRecommend

  • Aitum Bumb
    Mar 4, 2011 - 4:16PM


    You are brilliant analyst and a genius.
    You are the person who should be leading this investigation.
    You indeed deserve to be the next Caliph!!Recommend

  • Mahmood Hussain
    Mar 4, 2011 - 4:23PM

    [email protected] ok if TTP are american agent than why people like u crying over their killing in drone attack. US is killing their own agent.Recommend

  • Mar 4, 2011 - 4:31PM

    Really, foreign elements cannot be ignored, 100% CIA and RAW’s subversivie action plan against holy land of PakistanRecommend

  • faraz
    Mar 4, 2011 - 4:56PM

    They are all muslims, if muslims can shed innocnet blood, they can also throw a paper on the roadRecommend

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