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Inquiry into Pakistani minister’s death progressing: brother

ICC Note: Terrorist organization Al-Qaeda is assuming responsibility for death of  Shahbaz Bhatti

07/01/2011 VATICAN CITY — (AFP)An investigation into the assassination of a Christian Pakistani government minister who criticised the country’s rigid Islamic blasphemy law is on “the right track,” his brother said Thursday.

Shahbaz Bhatti, assassinated in March, was Pakistan’s minister for minorities’ affairs and campaigned for the rights of Christians before he was gunned down in Islamabad — apparently by Islamist extremists.

“The investigations into the homicide of my brother are finally on the right track,” Paul Bhatti, currently an adviser to Pakistan’s government on religious minorities told the Catholic Fides news agency.

“It was committed by the Taliban and Islamist fanatics. Now, we are waiting for the capture of the perpetrators, who are in Dubai,” he said.

He claimed investigators have determined that Al Qaeda’s “Brigade 313”, led by senior Pakistani Taliban Ilyas Kashmiri, asked a Taliban commander based in Punjab named Asmatullah Mawaia to kill his brother.

. . .

“We were convinced that he had been killed for his work, for his defence of human rights (and) the rights of Christians. (…) The investigation has proved us right,” he added

. . .

Bhatti was shot as he left his mother’s home in a residential area of Islamabad. Police said the attackers fired at least 25 bullets at his vehicle.

A letter found at the scene, purportedly from supporters of Al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the killing.

Bhatti, who left a chilling video prophecy of his assassination, had vowed to fight to the death in defence of Pakistan’s persecuted minorities.

. . .

Two months before he was killed, Punjab province governor Salman Taseer was shot dead by one of his own police bodyguards, who cited the politician’s opposition to the blasphemy law as justification for the killing.

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