Norway condemns assassination of Pakistani Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti

Norwegian Foreign Minister Johan Gahr Store

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre

Shahbaz Bhatti, Minister of Minorities in the Pakistani federal government, was assassinated today in Islamabad. Bhatti was a fearless champion of human rights and the rights of minorities in Pakistan.

“I condemn the assassination of Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti. With his death, Pakistan has lost a fearless advocate of human rights. This is a serious setback in efforts to achieve good governance in Pakistan,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

“I urge the Pakistani authorities to do their utmost to protect people who are seeking to strengthen respect for human rights in Pakistan, and to bring those responsible for this crime to justice. I would like to express my deepest sympathy with Mr. Bhatti’s family,” said Støre.

Bhatti belonged to the Christian minority in Pakistan and was a fearless champion of human rights and the rights of minorities in the country. He also had called for reform of Pakistani blasphemy laws.

The governor of Pakistan’s largest province, Punjab, was killed in January after having called for the pardon of a Christian woman who was sentenced to death last autumn for blasphemy. Bhatti’s murder is the second assassination of a prominent politician in Pakistan this year.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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