“I believe in Jesus Christ who has given his own

life for us, and I am ready to die for a cause.”

–Shahbaz Bhatti, 2010

 

Born in 1968 in Lahore, Shahbaz Bhatti was the first Christian parliamentarian who became the federal minister for minorities affairs in 2008. During his tenure, he introduced a number of legislative reforms for the minorities. In particular, he advocated for the amendment of Blasphemy law which, he argued, has historically been used to persecute minorities in the country. He also supported acquittal of Asia Bibi. As expected, Bhatti received death threats in 2011. He uploaded a video and vowed to not back down from his fight for the minorities. He promised to not give in to the fear, threats. Four months later, he was assassinated in Islamabad. The assassinators left behind pamphlets stating how a Kafir Christian wanting to reviewing Blasphemy Law is ought to die. The murder of Bhatti was condemned without any reference to the cause of his death. The driver of Shahbaz Bhatti fled to Thailand. None of the witnesses were willing to give testimony lest they may face same consequences. The few unfortunate politicians who have dared speak about blasphemy law again have been threatened into keeping silence.

The fear won. We have decided to prioritize more “pressing” issues of corrupt politicians and Indian spies. A Mashal Khan has to die or a Youhanabad has to burn for us to temporarily realize the issues of minorities, blasphemy law and religious extremism before they go back to the oblivion of amnesia.