Bhatti’s murderers believed that their murder was a pious act that would please their bloodthirsty god.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) — Taliban militants on Wednesday shot dead Pakistan’s only Christian government minister for challenging a law that mandates the death penalty for insulting Islam, the latest sign of instability in a country where many fear radical Islam is becoming more mainstream.
Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti is the second senior official this year to be assassinated for opposing the blasphemy law. Provincial governor Salman Taseer was shot dead by his own bodyguard in January….
Bhatti was shot by men in shawls in broad daylight while he was traveling in a car near a market in the capital, Islamabad, police said. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing, saying the minister had been “punished” for being a blasphemer….
Witnesses said the attackers scattered leaflets signed by “The Qaeda and the Taliban of Punjab” at the attack scene, which read: “This is the punishment of this cursed man.” […]
The government of President Asif Ali Zardari has repeatedly said it would not change the blasphemy law, and officials have distanced themselves from anyone calling for amendments.
Al Qaeda-linked Pakistani Taliban militants, fighting to bring down the state, had called for Bhatti’s death because of his attempts to amend the law.
“He was a blasphemer like Salman Taseer,” spokesman Sajjad Mohmand said by telephone from an undisclosed location….