Friday, February 14, 2014

Catholic Pakistani politician flees to Italy amid death threats

Dr Paul Bhatti, the former Pakistani Minister of National Harmony and Minority Affairs, has been forced to flee Pakistan amid renewed death threats from the Islamic militant groups believed to be responsible for the assassination of his brother, the politician Shahbaz Bhatti.

Dr Bhatti, a Catholic, fled to Italy after receiving a letter warning him to drop the murder case against terrorist organisations Fidayaan-e-Mohammad, Tehrik-e-Taliban Punjab and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the Pakistani press reported yesterday.

Paul’s younger brother Shahbaz was assassinated in March 2011. He was country’s Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs and at the time the only Christian in the Pakistani cabinet.

Shahbaz had frequently spoken out against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and in support of Pakistani Christians, in particular for Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010.