Stephan mentioned yesterday at the beginning of the Harvest Show, the story of the assassinated Pakistani Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, who was in charge of minorities, for his efforts of reform in his country. The funeral was held this afternoon.
Mr. Bhatti, a Christian, was shot dead by Taliban because of his outspoken stance on the blasphemy law.
This was the second assassination this year of a Pakistani politician who challenged the controversial blasphemy laws. That law carries a death sentence for anyone who insults Islam, and critics say it has been used to persecute the minority faiths.
It has been in the spotlight since a Christian, Asia Bibi, was sentenced to hang last November. Ms. Bibi denies insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Now with the death of Mr. Bhatti, the most prominent voice has been silenced.
The government was represented by it's prominent representatives. The Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani led the mourners in Islamabad. “People like him, they are very rare,” Mr. Gilani told the packed congregation. “All the minorities have lost a great leader.”
Four months ago, Mr. Bhatti predicted his own death on video. The clear declaration of his belief in Jesus Christ, the opposition of the blasphemy law, and the defense of the oppressed, made him a target. He stated that he knew the meaning of the cross and would follow it, and that he would be killed for standing up against those who impose Sharia law.
Christians make up about 1.5% of Pakistan's 185 million people. May God bless Mr. Bhatti's community, and grant immeasurable grace to replace the fear in the hearts of so many. Let us remember to pray for them as Pakistan observes three days of mourning.
Middle East Corespondent