Interview with Shahbaz Bhatti in October 2010 – Seoul, Korea
This is a heavily edited interview with Bhatti in Seoul, Korea. The editing was done mostly by a student from TTGST. For the interview I had about 5 written questions, but I also asked him some random questions when I did not forget what I wanted to ask! 🙂
Unfortunately, I can not post the full audio session. I don’t know how to do it!
Can you tell us something about the minorities in Pakistan?
-5% of minorities in Population for 170 mil
-2% are Christians. They are attempting to aid in the socioeconomic development of the region.
-Many of the best leadership training happens in Christians schools.
Do you find significant resistance to your work?
-President and Prime minister support me fully for my work.
-My work is for religious freedom and justice. But there are challenges from militants, radical extremists, these give me some challenges.
-the mindset that we are striving for are equal rights.
Do you feel like you are in danger from these extremists at any time?
-These extremists try to terrorize people. Anyone who goes against them are considered as enemies.
Would you consider Christians to be a persecuted group in your country?
-There is an extremist element that persecutes all minorities, not only the Christians.
Is this extremist element a large group?
-No, they are a small minority, and not all of them are working for the Taliban.
Are the Pakistani Muslims nominal?
-No, they are very strong in their muslim belief. They follow the religious traditions with full respect.
What do you see as the primary difference of Christians in a country where they are the majority and in countries as a minority?
-I believe that regardless of what situation, we should strive to live the life of Jesus Christ. We should preach the Gospel through our actions, …like good Samaritans. I think we can make the world a better place through this.
Do you go to a particular church?
-I go to different churches. I accepted Jesus as a school boy. I always feel that Jesus has a new plan for my life. I want to serve him through my actions.
How is the ecumenism in Pakistan?
-Its a good example that Jesus is the symbol of unity.
Did you study mostly in Pakistan?
-Yes, I mostly studied in Pakistan. I studies Public Administration and Political Science.
In the future the Christians will be called “essahi” or “masihi”?
We are finally having the official celebration of Christian holidays. Also, prayer rooms and worship places are being constructed in government buildings. We have allocated 4 seats out of 100 for the minority.
What are some ways that international Christians can support their brothers and sisters in Pakistan?
-As I said earlier, we should follow the life and teaching of Jesus. We should follow the concept of the Body of Christ. If we take care of the body of Christ, then we will have unity. We will stand in unity. They can pray for Pakistan, and they can send support for Pakistan, especially after the flood. We need to support the Pakistanis, no matter what religion. this is our chance to show them our being Good Samaritans. We are thankful for the support of the Korean government. Today we can stand together and make a difference.
How does the promotion of Human Rights affect the spreads of the Gospel in the region?
-I think that the principles of the Gospel are very mcuh in line with the Human Rights, because the Gospel teaches to respect each other.
Is there any organization that assists the situation in Pakistan? How does that impact the perception of Christianity?
-I think it is a very good gesture.