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USCIRF Urges Pakistan to Take Action against Violent Religious Extremism
ICC Note: On the two year anniversary of the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s sole Christian cabinet minister, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) renewed its calls to both “bring his killers to justice and stem the rising tide of violent religious extremism that victimizes all Pakistanis.” “How can religious minorities have confidence in their government if it does not fully investigate the murder of a sitting cabinet minister?” asked USCIRF Chair Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett.
3/1/2013 Pakistan (USCIRF) – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) marked the 2nd anniversary of the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti with a renewed call for the Pakistani government to both bring his killers to justice and stem the rising tide of violent religious extremism that victimizes all Pakistanis. Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian in the cabinet, was gunned down in Islamabad on March 2, 2011. Despite the Pakistani Taliban claiming responsibility for the killing the attackers remain at large and the investigation seemingly has ended.
“With two years having passed, it is long past time for the Pakistani government to bring Bhatti’s killers to justice,” said USCIRF Chair Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett. “President Zardari should insist that the Ministry of Interior and other Pakistani agencies vigorously investigate the murder and arrest the culprits of this heinous act. How can religious minorities have confidence in their government if it does not fully investigate the murder of a sitting cabinet minister?”

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