Min­is­ter mur­dered in Pak­istan

Townsville Bulletin - - World Snapshot -

THE Pope has con­demned the killing of a Catholic Pak­istani gov­ern­ment min­is­ter who had said he was the top tar­get for Is­lamist hard-lin­ers.

The as­sailants shot at least 25 bul­lets into the car of mi­nori­ties min­is­ter Shah­baz Bhatti in Islamabad.

Bhatti was dead on ar­rival at Islamabad’s Shifa hos­pi­tal and a doc­tor said his body was rid­dled with at least eight bul­lets.

Prime Min­is­ter Yousuf Raza Gi­lani gave con­do­lences to Bhatti’s fam­ily.

‘‘ Such acts will not de­ter the gov­ern­ment’s re­solve to fight terrorism and ex­trem­ism,’’ he said, pledg­ing that the killers would be pun­ished.

The Vat­i­can con­demned the as­sas­si­na­tion as ‘‘ un­speak­able’’ and ar­gued it un­der­lined the ‘‘ dra­matic ur­gency of the de­fence of re­li­gious free­dom and Chris­tians’’ in Pak­istan.

No group has claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity, but Pak­istan TV showed pam­phlets at the scene that were at­trib­uted to the Pak­istani Tal­iban warn­ing of the same fate for any­one op­pos­ing the blas­phemy laws.

Pak­istan’s law against blas­phem­ing Is­lam car­ries the death penalty.

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