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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.

 

As Minister, Mr. Bhatti took steps to advance the rights of religious minorities. These included launching a national campaign to promote interfaith harmony. Mr. Bhatti also fought valiantly against abuses of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws during his time in government. Mr. Bhatti helped to found the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance in 1985 and subsequently chaired that organization. He also served as head of Pakistan’s Christian Liberation Front, which he formed in 1985. In 2002, he joined the Pakistan Peoples Party. Minister Bhatti visited Canada in February 2011 where he met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, among other government ministers. Shortly after his visit to Canada, Minister Bhatti was assassinated while on his way to work.

Exclusive footage of Shahbaz Bhatti\'s interview

Sara Sumbal needs your help

Sara’s Story

My name is Sara Sumbal. My family and I are asylum seekers in Bangkok, Thailand. We fled our home in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2013 when we became victims of persecution after my father, a Christian evangelist, was labeled a blasphemer under the Blasphemy Law for evangelising a Muslim man. My father was initially threatened by two Muslim clerics to stop evangelising or they would kill him and his family. They then ordered him to convert to Islam and all would be well. When he refused, they and the male members of the Muslim man’s family beat him unconscious and left him for dead on a garbage heap. 

          Sara with her family prior to their detention

After my father’s recovery, the extremists threatened him again with death because he continued holding prayer meetings. Because we were traumatised and terrified, our family fled form Karachi to a friend’s home in the city of Bahawalpur.

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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.

Read more...