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Press Release

International Christian Voice Canada celebrated the 45th Birthday of Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti on Monday, September 9, 2013 at the Terry Miller Recreational Centre in Brampton.

The program started with the MC, Asher Khokhar, Secretary of ICV, welcoming all guests in attendance. Dr. Rev. Rashid Gill said the opening prayer and reflected on the life of Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti and his sacrifice to promote human rights and equality in Pakistan.

Mrs. Jacqueline Yousif and Mr. Yousif Nishan shared their memories with their brother and spoke of the precious moments they had with Shahbaz Bhatti on his birthday. Pastor Raj Dass also reflected on the life of Shahbaz Bhatti and spoke of his bravery and courageousness while fighting for religious freedom.
A tribute video created by Shahbaz Bhatti's niece, Nitasha Bhatti, was shown, highlighting his life's achievements. Mr. Javed Iqbal, a famous poet of the community, reflected on Shahbaz Bhatti's life through his poetry. Mr. Asher Habib and Mr. Jim Walker spoke of the inspiration they received from Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti and remembered his many achievements.
Mr. Tanveer Joseph, Vice Chairman (community Affairs) of ICV, shared his personal memories with Shahbaz Bhatti and spoke of the encouragement and motivation he received through their meetings. The newly arrived family of Rimsha Masih also participated in the event and paid tribute to Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti while thanking ICV and Canadian government for their continued support. ICV executive members Mr. Tanveer Joseph, Mr. Naeem Akther, Mr. Asher Khokhar, Rev. Dr. Rashid Gill, Mr. Max Gill, Mrs. Eliza Charles, Mr. George Ghulam, Mr. Qamar Andreas, Mrs. Basanti Massey and Mr. Dilawar Pelwan all recommitted to continue the legacy of Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti. 
ICV Chairman Peter Bhatti gave a briefing on the reasons religious minorities have been marginalized throughout history through undemocratic forces and military dictatorships. He said Shahbaz Bhatti, from his childhood, stood against this discrimination and wanted to bring equality to all citizens of Pakistan regardless of caste, creed or religion. He also recommitted to carry the responsibilities and legacy of Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti to fulfill his mission along with his team. The scholarships given to five deserving students in Pakistan through the Shahbaz Bhattilegacy fund were announced by Mr. Bhatti shortly thereafter.
Honorable M.P Joe Daniel, who was the chief guest of the event, shared his thoughts and stressed for the community to continue the legacy of Shahbaz Bhatti and appreciated the efforts of ICV in promoting human rights and religious freedom.
Many organization leaders, church leaders and community members also participated in the event and celebreated the life of Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti. Pastor Samuel Gori said the closing prayer after sharing his thoughts and encouraged the members of ICV to continue their struggle while assuring his support. The event ended with a cake cutting ceremony by the ICV executive members and MP Joe Daniel.

Exclusive footage of Shahbaz Bhatti\'s interview


Saira Khurram went to Thailand in November 2011 with her husband Khurram Ashiq and two children: Mariam Khurram, 6 years old and Musa Khurram, 5 years old, after facing persecution in Pakistan due to their Christianbelief.

Saira Khurram and her husband left everything they owned in Pakistan and applied for refugee status in Thailand. Since their arrival in Thailand they, have faced many problems. Under such dire circumstances, as head of the family, Saira’s husband, Khurram Ashiq, tried his best to support his family but faced many challenges while dealing with the UNHCR and the Thai Government. He suffered from anxiety and depression, which were worsened when his asylum case was refused by the UNHCR. This refusal was very hard on him emotionally and he could not handle the shock, eventually leading to a heart attack that took his life on October 19th, 2017.


Backgrounder - Diefenbaker Award and Recipients Shahbaz Bhatti

Shahbaz Bhatti was elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan in 2008 and named Federal Minister for Minorities a portfolio he accepted because of the opportunity it offered to defend the oppressed and marginalized of Pakistan.