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! 🙂
A few months ago I had the chance to interview in Seoul the Federal Minister for Minorities in Pakistan – Shahbaz Bhatti. Bhatti came to receive an honorary doctorate in October 2010 from our school (www.ttgst.ac.kr). He was a soft spoken intelligent Christian man who has dedicated his life to defend the religious minorities in Pakistan. A few minutes ago I just found out from my wife that Bhatti was shot. Here is the news:
“Gunmen shot and killed Pakistan’s government minister for religious minorities on Wednesday, the latest attack on a high-profile Pakistani figure who had urged reforming harsh blasphemy laws that impose the death penalty for insulting Islam.
The killing of Shahbaz Bhatti, a member of Pakistan’s Christian community, was another major blow to Pakistan’s besieged liberals, who say the attacks are a symptom of an increasingly radicalised Muslim-majority public. Earlier this year, Punjab province Governor Salman Taseer was killed by a bodyguard who said he was angry that the politician opposed the blasphemy laws — and many ordinary Pakistanis praised the murderer.
Bhatti was on his way to work in capital Islamabad when unknown gunmen riddled his car with bullets, police officer Mohmmad Iqbal said. The minister arrived dead at Shifa Hospital and his driver was also wounded badly, hospital spokesman Asmatullah Qureshi said.”
This is again very sad news about a man that I knew personally, a man who has dedicated his life with all the risks involved to make Pakistan a better place. Unfortunately, this case proves again my point that true democracy is not possible in a truly Islamic state.
The following information is from his CV which was still on my desk when I found out the news about his death. I hope to recover the tape with my interview of Bhatti and post it soon!
Bhatti was about my age (42) and started to struggle for the downtrodden minorities back in 1985 when he was a college student. He mobilized minorities throughout Pakistan to spread the message of religious tolerance, unity and hope for the deprived people of Pakistan.
He was actively involved in the struggle for restoration of democracy and people’s rights. Anti democratic forces tortured, imprisoned, threatened and pressurized Mr. Bhatti on many occasions. Despite this, he has devoted his entire life (with all the risks involved) to serve the suffering, persecuted, victimized and poor Christians and other minorities from Pakistan.
He has also established skilled development centers for widows & poor women so they can earn a dignified living and has helped the poor and deserving students by opening tuition centers & counseling centers for them.
The list could go on and on (he received several peace awards from Canada, USA, Europe etc)…hardly reasons to get shot by some Muslim extremists.
May God forgive them and help them see the light.
You can find the BBC news about this here.