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Islamabad: Shahbaz Bhatti’s Alleged Murderer In Prison, Awaiting Interrogation
ICC Note
Pakistani officials arrested Abid Malik, one of the suspected killers of Shabaz Bhatti. Bhatti was the only Christian member of Pakistan’s cabinet. He fought for the rights of the persecuted Christians and other religious minorities. 
By Jibran Khan
02/14/2012 Pakistan (AsiaNews) – Pakistan’s anti-terrorism court has issued a remand order, lasting seven days, against Abid Malik, one of two men suspected of murdering a Catholic Minister for Religious Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti . The man was arrested recently in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with the help of Interpol. Yesterday afternoon, along with his wife and son he landed at Lahore, among tight security, he was subjected to detention and will be questioned in the coming hours. However, Zia ur Rehman, the second suspect – according to investigators – to have taken part in the murder, on 2 March in Islamabad is still at large. Rehman fled to Dubai and is hiding in an undisclosed location.
The arrest in cooperation between the Pakistani security forces and international police marks a turning point in the investigation into the murder of a Catholic minister, victim of an ambush in the streets of the capital, during which more than 30 shots were fired. However, intelligence sources have called for calm and the heads of the Church of Pakistan do not believe in a quick resolution of the case. Bishop Rufin Anthony of Islamabad / Rawalpindi, recalls the different versions on the dynamics and suspicions that have circulated in recent months, and criticizes the police who “seem to protect the guilty and not conduct a serious investigation.”
Commenting to AsiaNews on the suspect’s arrest, the bishop speaks of a “ray of light”, but adds that “the investigative team does not seem to truly believe that Rehman and Abid are implicated in the affair.” In the past the judges “have released the suspects for lack of evidence” and wonders who the real perpetrators of the act are and “who the people are that they are trying to save?”. “But one day – Msgr. Anthony concludes – the truth will out …”.

The two suspects in the death, Zia-ur-Rehman and Abid Malik, are reportedly two ex-Christians from Faisalabad, who converted to Islam, who had some trouble with Bhatti family-related properties. They were implicated by a former Protestant minister, Hafiz Nazar, arrested in recent months because – in an intercepted phone call – he spoke of the two’s “involvement” in the death of Bhatti. Moreover, an interrogation revealed that Nazar is “mentally unstable” and can not be trusted as a witness. That the police released him following days. Now, with Malik Abid’s arrest, the track of a personal disagreement over to a mutual claims to land has resurfaced. A theory that does not convince the Pakistani Christian community.

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