In my earlier post, I noted that enough security might not have been provided to, already, slain-ed minister, Shahbaz Bhatti, even after he received death threats and fatwas for his death were issued by many leaders of Islamic parties. I also noted that all these security precautions, yet, might not have saved him because security guards themselves might pull the trigger as it happened in the case of Salmaan Taseer. Now, TOI reports:
Pakistani government minister Shabhaz Bhatti was deprived of the facilities that most ministers enjoy, like privileges of bullet-proof vehicles and high-walled houses in Islamabad's Ministers Enclave.
According to his family and friends, Bhatti had several times told president Asif Ali Zardari and PM Yousuf Raza Gilani about the threats to his life. Durrani insisted there was no security lapse as police escorts were provided to the minister, which he was not using. "The squad officer told me that the minister had instructed him to wait for him at his office. He used to often visit his mother's house without a squad," he said.
Bhatti founded the Christian-inspired All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) movement, aiming to bring oppressed minorities into mainstream politics.
One of his first battles was against the law on blasphemy, introduced in 1986 by military dictator general Zia ul Haq and used mostly against religious minorities.
"I will propose legislative reforms for the promotion and protection of minorities' rights," the Catholic leader recently said. About 1.5% of Pakistan's 185 million people are Christians. Pakistan's blasphemy law has been in the media glare since a Christian woman, Aasia Bibi, was sentenced to death by a court last November on blasphemy charges. The fanatical supporters of blasphemy law eliminated governor Taseer who sought presidential pardon for Aasia and proposed changes in the draconian law.
Far from supporting Taseer or Bhatti's cause regarding changes in the blasphemy law, the crumbling ruling secular PPP government succumbed to demands of religious groups and repeatedly said it will not reform the blasphemy law.
The country's interior minister Rehman Malik went to the extent of saying he too would shoot anyone who commits blasphemy.}}}
Of course, Shahbaz Bhatti was provided with four escorts!
It is very rare that Non Muslim politicians can find a position in Pakistan's federal cabinet. Even when they do, it has to be a post like Minister for religious minorities who are any way fast disappearing. Finally, I admit this: Shahbaz Bhatti has courage. (May his soul rest in peace.)
For more reading: Bhatti was told to be careful but never given any additional security.
Is there anything implicit threat in advice 'be careful'? Probably, this is the way Zardari's cabinet telling him to stop his call for repealing blasphemy law or not to cross the line.
President Zardari promised the vacant ministry for religious minorities to the kin of Shahbaz Bhatti and this is ridiculous. For, the funeral of Bhatti has been attended by just one from cabinet i.e. prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani (here); in the name of security to PM, family members of Shahbaz Bhatti were denied access to the church during funeral prayers (here).