Shahbaz Bhatti was killed on March 2, 2011, which will be remembered in the history of Pakistan, particularly with regards to minorities.
Bhatti, who held the portfolio of Federal Minister for Minorities, was killed in broad daylight in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. He was killed within two months Governor Punjab Salman Taseer’s assassination.
The Governor was too killed in centre of the federal capital at the hands of his own guard, Mumtaz Qadri. Both were killed because they were supporting Aasia Bibi, the Christian women accused of blasphemy.
The two leaders, who were assassinated, also raised voice against the blasphemy laws, claiming that these were used to target minorities and even Muslims as a cover for personal and property/financial disputes.
Although the debate on the blasphemy laws may have ended after two of the most high profile assassinations in a span of two months, the killers of Shahbaz Bhatti have not been arrested thus far.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik claimed that Bhatti’s killer belonged to the banned organization Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP). However, no man has been out inside the bar in this regard.
Abid Malik, the man arrested in charges of killing Shahbaz Bhatti was released. Despite passage of one year, the murderers of Bhatti, who was federal minister at that time, have not yet been arrested by the law enforcement agencies that show about the state of affairs.
The killings of governor of the most populated province and the only Christian minister, showed poor law and order situation and rising intolerance in the society.
Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani in his latest remarks observed that interfaith harmony was need of the hour as all religions advocate peace and tolerance.
However, organizing a conference on interfaith harmony will not do the trick in a country where the white part of the flag represents religious minorities has been became red with blood. On the other side, target killings of minorities Shias are on the rise across the country.
At the present scenario we are only required a change of mindset in society. The government should make a crackdown on all jihadi groups and an end to the overt and covert support to these groups by the military establishment.
Pakistan will regain an important part of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s legacy unless these steps have been taken.