Protest: CFD, HRW condemn the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti
CFD statement and Human Rights Watch comment on the murder of Federal Minister for Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti. Note: Protests held at Karachi Press Club 5.30 pm and Lahore Press Club 3.00 pm today.
CFD vehemently denounces the cold-blooded murder of the Federal Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, who was under constant threats from religious extremists due to his efforts to stop the misuse of blasphemy law. We demand that his killers be caught and brought to justice.
CFD also demands that Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer be tried and punished according to law. All cases of murder must be dealt with as murder and not justified on ‘religious’ or ‘cultural’ pretexts.
There must be zero tolerance for any incitement to violence or murder and all such cases must be dealt with according to the law. We demand that action be taken all those people, ‘tehreeks’ and organisations inciting violence and murder. The government must take strong action against those who use religion for political purposes.
Hate-mongering through the pulpit, on television talk shows, pamphlets and banners have cost us another life and still more are under threat. The government must act immediately to put a stop to this. It must protect its officials and the citizens of Pakistan.
Human Rights Watch comment on Shahbaz Bhatti assassination:
Shahbaz Bhatti’s ruthless and cold-blooded murder is a grave setback for the struggle for tolerance, pluralism and respect for human rights in Pakistan. In articulating the position that the blasphemy law, as currently framed, engenders abuse and required review, Bhatti was only doing his job and reiterating the stated position of the ruling Pakistan Peoples’ Party until it reneged on the same on December 30, 2010.
Bhatti’s murder is the bitter fruit of appeasement of extremist and militant groups both prior to and after the killing of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer on January 4. An urgent and meaningful policy shift on the appeasement of extremists that is supported by the military, the judiciary and the political class needs to replace the political cowardice and institutional myopia that encourages such continued appeasement despite its unrelenting bloody consequences.
Human Rights Watch calls upon the Pakistani government to apprehend and hold Bhatti’s killers to account, charge under the law those who incite hatred and violence and ensure protection for those, such as former information minister Sherry Rehman, who continue to be publicly threatened by extremist actors.
For further comment or information please contact the Human Rights Watch representative:
Ali Dayan Hasan in Pakistan +92-300-8425125 (mobile)