Shabhaz Bhatti himself now has a death fatwa hanging over his head for defending Asia Bibi and challenging the blasphemy law. Like Salman Taseer, he has committed blasphemy against the blasphemy law, and in a typically disproportionate response (cartoons = death, criticism = death, etc.), that was enough for an Islamic group to call for his head over a month ago. “Anyone who is against the blasphemy law puts his life at risk, Lahore archbishop says,” by Fareed Khan for AsiaNews, January 5:
Lahore (AsiaNews) – “Salman Taseer fought for the release of Asia Bibi and spoken out for the repeal of the blasphemy law. I think this was the main reason for his murder,” said Mgr Lawrence John Saldanha, archbishop of Lahore, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan and head of the National Justice and Peace Commission. “In Pakistan, the number of people whose life is threatened is growing. With this murder, it is clear that anyone that opposes the blasphemy law is at risk,” said the archbishop, who sent a letter of condolences to Governor Taseer’s widow today.
A member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Salman Taseer was appointed governor of Punjab Province in 2008. He was killed yesterday by a member of his security detail outside a cafÃ© in Islamabad. Local media quoted his assassin as saying that he killed the political leader because of his criticism of the blasphemy law.
His body was laid to rest today in the Cavalry Ground cemetery in Lahore. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, a number of federal ministers and ordinary people from all walks of life participated in his funeral.
“The entire Christian community is concerned about what happened. It condemns the murder of Taseer, who was a great man,” Mgr Saldanha said. For the archbishop, everyone should raise their voice against intolerance and extremism, including the media. […]
That would be nice. Here, our own mainstream media is largely too timid to speak beyond vague generalities with no names named, and that’s without anyone firing a shot.
Minority Affairs minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic, also condemned the killing, saying that the governor’s stance against the Blasphemy Laws led to his death.
The minister declared a two-week period of mourning by the country’s religious minorities.
In a statement to AsiaNews Mr Bhatti minister also called for a thorough investigation into the killing, stating that radical Islamic organisations that issued religious decrees against Governor Taseer should be held to account….