Vatican City: The Vatican on Wednesday condemned
as "unspeakable" the murder of a Catholic Pakistani government
minister opposed to an Islamic blasphemy law, and called for
an end to persecution of Christians.
The attack was a "new act of violence of a terrible
gravity," said papal spokesman Federico Lombardi after
minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti was shot dead in broad
daylight in a residential area of Islamabad earlier today.
"To our prayers for the victim, our condemnation of
the act of unspeakable violence, our closeness to the
Pakistani Christians subject to hate, we add an appeal
concerning the dramatic urgency of the defense of religious
freedom and of Christians who are suffering from violence and
persecution," he added.
In comments to reporters, Lombardi also stressed the
need to defend religious freedom and end persecution of
Christians in Pakistan.
Bhatti, a member of Pakistan`s tiny Christian
community, had been a vocal opponent of the country`s
controversial blasphemy law despite receiving death threats
following the murder of another politician opposed to the law.