March 2, 2011

Murder of Shahbaz Bhatti

Killer shot and killed Pakistan’s government minister for religious minorities on Wednesday.

Mohmmad Iqbal (police officer) said, Shahbaz Bhatti was going towards parliament there unknown gunmen target his car with bullets. The minister reached dead at Shifa Hospital and his driver was also wounded badly, according to hospital resourse.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but private Pakistani TV channels showed pamphlets at the scene of the killing that were attributed to the Pakistani Taliban warning of the same fate for anyone opposing the blasphemy laws.

Gulam Rahim was coming from a nearby market when he saw Bhatti’s car drive out of his house. Three men standing nearby with guns suddenly began firing at the vehicle, a dark colored Toyota.

Two of the men opened the door and tried to pull Bhatti out, Rahim said, while a third man fired his A.K 47 rifle repeatedly into the car. The three gunmen then sped away in a white Suzuki Mehran car, said Rahim who hide himself behind a tree.

Pakistani TV channels showed Bhatti’s vehicle afterward, its windows shattered with bullet holes all over. It was not immediately clear why Bhatti, a member of the ruling Pakistani People’s Party, did not have bodyguards with him.

Pakistani government leaders condemned the attack.

Bhatti’s friend Robinson Asghar said the slain minister had received threats following the death of the Punjab governor. Asghar said he had asked Bhatti to leave Pakistan for a while because of the threats, but that Bhatti had refused.

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