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ICC Note:

Pope Francis has said that he is praying for the persecuted Christians of Pakistan and is working through the Vatican with the Pakistani government to ensure the security and rights of Christians in Pakistan. Pakistani Christians continue to rank among the most persecuted Christians in the world. Many have been forced to flee Pakistan due to persecution, but most live in such a poor condition that they cannot afford to leave Pakistan. Please remember persecuted Pakistani Christians in your prayers. 

9/2/2014 Pakistan (Indian Express) – Pope Francis is praying for persecuted Christians in Pakistan and the Vatican is working with Islamabad to ensure their security, says the family of a Roman Catholic former Pakistani minister, who was murdered by the Taliban for allegedly insulting the Prophet.

The family of Shahbaz Bhatti, who was sprayed with bullets as he left his Islamabad home on March 2, 2011, met the Pope during his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square on August 27.

“We requested the Holy Father to remember the situation in Pakistan in his prayers. There is no peace and Christians continue to be persecuted,” Dr Paul Jacob Bhatti, Shahbaz’s brother and a former Pakistani minister for national harmony, said.

“The Holy Father said that he is praying for the Christians of Pakistan and that he remembers my brother. He also said that the Vatican has been in contact with the people concerned in the Pakistani government to ensure safety of the Christians there,” he added.

Shahbaz, who’s Christian name was Clement, was Pakistan’s federal minister for minority affairs from November 2008 until his death in 2011. He was the only Christian minister in the cabinet of the then Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, and was an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

He was assassinated two months after Salman Taseer, the then governor of Punjab province, was shot dead by a security guard who was angry with the governor’s opposition to blasphemy laws.

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