Bhattis firm in faith

  • April 13, 2011
Shahbaz Bhatti, who had called for changes in the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot dead in Islamabad, March 2.OTTAWA - The family of assassinated Pakistani Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti remains committed to its Catholic faith and the fight to improve the plight of persecuted Christians.

Though Bhatti’s family knew of the death threats their brother faced as an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s blasphemy law, his March 2 assassination still came as a shock, said his older brother Peter Bhatti, who lives in the Toronto area. The immediate reaction was a sense there is no place for us to live, and no hope, he said.

But his mother blessed him at the funeral service and told him, “Don’t worry, he lost his life for Jesus Christ. He chose a faith which our Jesus Christ chose. He is a martyr.”

Bhatti’s mother asked Peter and other family members to “please continue in his service and mission so our people will not lose their rights and be able to live in dignity and honour,” he said.

Since then, Bhatti’s older brother Paul, 53, a doctor who has lived outside of Pakistan, has assumed the role of special advisor to the Pakistani prime minister on religious minorities. He hopes to rally religious leaders to unite in a fight against terrorism.

“He is not afraid,” said Peter Bhatti, who said he brought his mother, one brother and a sister back to Canada with him. He hopes they will be able to remain in Canada.

“It is still extremely dangerous for Christians in Pakistan,” he said. “I believe it means more sacrifice and more involvement of the international community.”

As founder and chairman of International Christian Voice Canada, he hopes to make the Pakistani Christian community living outside of Pakistan aware of the plight of their persecuted brothers and sisters there.

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