Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pkistan: Taliban Assassinate Christian Minister

In broad daylight, unknown assailants sprayed bullets on the car of minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti after he came out of a home in a residential area of Islamabad, police said.

“Three or four armed men riding in a white Suzuki car intercepted his official vehicle,” city police chief Wajid Durrani told reporters.

“The attackers were clad in shawls and fired bursts on him, and he died,” Durrani said.

The minister’s driver was wounded.

The police chief insisted that Shahbaz Bhatti had been provided with proper security, but said the minister was not accompanied by his security detail when the attack happened.

Shahbaz Bhatti was dead on arrival at Islamabad’s Shifa hospital, doctor Azmatullah Qureshi confirmed.

Bhatti, a member of Pakistan’s tiny Christian community, had been a vocal opponent of the controversial blasphemy law along with the liberal late governor of Punjab province, Salman Taseer, a member of the main ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), was shot dead on January 4 by one of his own police bodyguards outside an Islamabad coffee shop.

After Taseer’s assassination, Bhatti said he was also receiving death threats, telling AFP that he was “the highest target right now”.

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