Taliban Guns Down Christian Pakistani Minister for Being ‘Known Blasphemer’
March 2, 2011
(ChattahBox World News)— Pakistan has to be one of the most screwed-up countries in the world. The nuclear-armed state combined with political instability, a ridiculously high rate of illiteracy, Islamic extremism, crushing poverty and constant terrorism, with Taliban insurgents seeking refuge on the Afghanistan border, is a volatile tinderbox. The Islamic extremism has evolved into the persecution and murder of Pakistani Christians, by Muslim mobs. Now, a branch of the Taliban has gunned down Pakistani Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti. His crime? Bhatti was a Christian, and he was in favor of reforming the country’s blasphemy laws that have been used to persecute non-Muslims. His sentence for being perceived as “a known blasphemer of the Prophet,” was death by gunfire.
The United States has been fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan, only to see the Islamic extremists move their base of operations over the border into Pakistan. The ultimate nightmare scenario? Taliban militants gaining control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.
“Pakistani Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti has been shot dead by gunmen who ambushed his car in broad daylight in the capital, Islamabad.”
“He was travelling to work through a residential district when his vehicle was sprayed with bullets, police said.”
“Mr Bhatti, the cabinet’s only Christian minister, had received death threats for urging reform to blasphemy laws.”
“In January, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who had also opposed the law, was shot dead by one of his bodyguards.”
“The blasphemy law carries a death sentence for anyone who insults Islam. Critics say it has been used to persecute minority faiths.”
A branch of the Taliban claimed responsibility for Bhatti’s murder, claiming that he insulted the Prophet.
“This man was a known blasphemer of the Prophet [Muhammad],” said the group’s deputy spokesman, Ahsanullah Ahsan.
MSNBC has an excellent piece of photojournalism depicting the aftermath of Bhatti’s murder here.
Bhatti knew he was a marked man. In an al-Jazeera interview taped four-months ago, Bhatti said that he would not back down from his campaign to reform the country’s blasphemy laws that sentence people to death for insulting the prophet Muhammad.
Bhatti said he was “ready to die for a cause.”
Photo Source: al-Jazeera video capture