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SHAHBAZ BHATTI / His brother Paul: Why is it that those who kill a Christian are likely to go unpunished?

September Fri 27, 2013

Paul Bhatti (Infophoto)  Paul Bhatti (Infophoto)

They finally have the names of the two assassins of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Catholic Pakistani minister shot to death in March 2011 during an armed raid in Islamabad. The mastermind of the crime is a Taliban leader tied to Al Qaeda, Adil Hammad, while the perpetrator is Muhammad Tanveer. The two have confessed to the police all the details of the plan by which Bhatti was killed. For his brother Paul Bhatti, former Minister for Religious Minorities and chairman of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, "despite the pain that Shahbaz's death causes me still today, I feel a deep relief in knowing with certainty who was behind his killing, and with me the whole world who believed in him." .

President Bhatti, has the arrest of the killers of Shahbaz been confirmed?

I can confirm that this is a true report. The two who were arrested are part of a band that ended up in the nets of law enforcement because of its involvement in the preparation of a terrorist attack. One hundred kilos of explosives were found in one of their houses, and inside the house the terrorist who was responsible for the murder of a lawyer had been buried. During the questioning of the members of this group, two of them confessed to having assassinated Shahbaz and were able to provide operative details on how the murder had been planned.

Who is actually behind this terrorist group?

The group has been in contact with both Al Qaeda and the Taliban of Punjab and belongs to the Islamist groups considered outlaws by the Government of Pakistan. Supporting this investigative lead was also the interview with the BBC which my brother Shahbaz released shortly before his death. In the video he stated that the Taliban and religious groups who support them did not want him to continue his work defending the rights of Christians and a change in the law on blasphemy.

How can this arrest help a national reconciliation in Pakistan?

The fact that the investigation will add light to the truth will convince people who are already of good faith, whether Muslim, Christian or of other religions. Certainly the message that these arrests can give is positive, but we will have to see how the investigation proceeds.

Do you have doubts about the way the investigation will be carried out?

Yes. It's too early to say how this case will turn out. What kind of doubts are you referring to? When the case comes before the judges, several witnesses will be called to testify in court. The two Taliban who admitted to being the killers of my brother, once the process begins, could change their version of the events and say they had nothing to do with it.

Beyond the fact that justice must takes its course, have you ever given thought to forgiving the assassins of your brother?



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