Angered, mourners lay Bhatti to rest

Bhatti's body was taken to the Khushpur area of Faisalabad via helicopter.


Reuters March 05, 2011

KHUSHPUR:


Angry youths shouted “death for the killers” on Friday ahead of the burial of slain minister Shahbaz Bhatti on Friday.


The church service for the country’s only Christian federal minister, who was assassinated by the Taliban, was held in the federal capital and was attended by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

“I consider this day as a black day,” Gilani said in the church. “All the minorities have lost a great leader. I assure you, we will try our utmost to bring the culprits to justice.”

Interior Minister Rehman Malik distanced himself from the slain politician, telling media Bhatti was himself to blame for his death.

“I think it was his mistake,” Rehman Malik said, adding that Bhatti wanted to keep a low profile. “It was his own decision.”

President Asif Ali Zardari did not attend the service, which was also attended by many other political figures and diplomats.

After the service, the body was transported in a helicopter to his native village for burial.

In a sign of mourning, black flags fluttered atop houses in Khushpur, Bhatti’s mainly Christian home village. Around 2,000 men, women and children thronged the village cemetery for burial.

“These terrorists must be hanged publicly to stop them from committing such brutal crimes,” Hina Gill, a member of the Christian Minority Alliance said. “These terrorists are wearing the mask of religion to defame religion.”

“Bhatti, your blood will bring revolution,” some mourners shouted as his body was taken to the burial site in an ambulance.

Christians were not alone in mourning Bhatti.

“Shahbaz Bhatti has tried hard to promote interfaith harmony but those who want to destabilise Pakistan have killed him,” said Badruddin Chaudhry, a Muslim attending the funeral.

Only dignitaries were allowed to enter the Church amid tight security.

Scores of members of the Christian community, who had come to attend the memorial service, stayed outside the Church after they were not allowed to enter the premises. Later, they staged a protest and subsequently a sit-in on the Faisal Avenue.

Diplomats from everal countries also participated in the prayers.

With additional reporting from our correspondent

Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2011.


COMMENTS (16)

Bhagat Singh Lyallpuria | 10 years ago | Reply @faraz: it is a childish opinion. How many people will go? how many will get higher education? how even the christian schools have forced poor christians to stay away from them coz the fee is so higher. how many countries will like to accommodate. Western countries do welcome people from all over the world if they have lot of money to invest there.
Bhagat Singh Lyallpuria | 10 years ago | Reply @Mubarak: Religion is used as opium as said Karl Marx more than 150 years ago. So true he was and it is favorite weapon of capitalist powers to make people of the third world as religious zealots and sustain the devlish agenda of DIVIDE N RULE. Changing the names of cities or places for others pleasure is an indicator of ours for being selfish and immature. Wht will happen in Pakistan if India changes Ahmadabad into Rampur or something else? Any way i m still optimist that this darkness is the part of the ending night and dawn is coming. Lets be ready for the dawn.
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