Islamabad: Pakistan People`s Party chairman
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday pledged to protect the country`s
minority communities, saying it was a tragedy that Muhammad
Ali Jinnah`s vision of a pluralist country had been distorted
to spread an "ideology of hate".
In a message issued to mark the first anniversary of the
assassination of Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, who
was gunned down by militants in Islamabad last year, Bilawal
said the PPP will continue to stand by Pakistan`s religious
minorities and support them against bigotry in the tradition
of his slain mother, former premier Benazir Bhutto.
"Pakistan was conceived as a homeland for Muslims where
all religious and ethnic groups would live in peace and
harmony. It is a tragedy that (Jinnah`s) ideal of a pluralist
nation has been distorted under dictatorship to spread an
ideology of hate," he said.
"It is this ideology of hate that took away a great
public servant like Shahbaz Bhatti from us," Bilawal said.
The assassination of Bhatti, soon after the killing of
Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, "reminded us of the great
obstacles we face in rebuilding Pakistan in accordance with
the vision" of Jinnah, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto,
"The forces of darkness will not give up easily but
neither will we. The blood of martyrs and those committed to a
tolerant, democratic, pluralist Pakistan that respects rather
than allows the murder of its minorities will not go in vain,"
He lauded Bhatti, who was the only Christian member of
the cabinet, for his dedication to democracy and the ideal of
a "more tolerant and inclusive Pakistan".
During a meeting this week with Sindh Minister for
Minorities Mohan Lal Kohistani, Bilawal said the PPP had
condemned the massacre of 18 in Kohistan, abduction of two
Christians in Karachi and killing of an 80-year-old Ahmadi in
Bilawal sought a report on what could be done to protect
the most vulnerable segments of society. The Sindh government
will make concerted efforts to provide complete security to
minority communities of the province.