‘Shahbaz Bhatti murder led by Ilyas Kashmiri’
Islamabad: The assassination of Pakistan's
Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti was organised by
al-Qaeda-linked militant commander Ilyas Kashmiri and the
perpetrators of the crime are currently in Dubai, his brother
Paul Bhatti has said.
"The investigations into the murder of my brother
Shabhaz are finally on the right track, it is the work carried
out by the Taliban and Islamic fanatics. Now we are waiting
for the capture of the perpetrators of the crime, who are in
Dubai," Paul said.
An inquiry commission set up by Interior Minister
Rehman Malik had concluded following investigations that the
murder was organized by al-Qaeda’s 313 Brigade, also known as
the "ghost army" and led by militant commander Ilyas Kashmiri,
he told Agenzia Fides, a Catholic news agency.
According to the commission's report, the 313 Brigade
commissioned a Taliban commander from Punjab province,
Asmatullah Mawaia, to eliminate Shahbaz.
The plan was then executed by elements of the
Tehrik-e-Islami extremist group along with a faction of the
Ghazi Force, Paul said.
The Interior Minister had "announced an international
arrest warrant" for the perpetrators, said Paul, currently
Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for religious
Shahbaz was gunned down near his residence in the
heart of Islamabad on March 2 as he was driving to work.
He was the second senior leader of the ruling Pakistan
People's Party to be assassinated for opposing the
controversial blasphemy law.
Earlier in the year, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer
was killed by a police guard.
The 313 Brigade is the military organization of al-
Qaeda in Pakistan and has been blamed for numerous attacks.
It includes elements of the Laskhar-e-Jhangvi, Harkat-ul-
Jihad-al-Islami, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
The Ghazi Force was set up by followers of the clerics
of the radical Lal Masjid in Islamabad.
Paul, the brother of Pakistan's assassinated Minority
Affairs Minister, said, "After the sidetracking of the inquiry
and attempts of reducing the charge of murder due to personal
enmity, slinging mud at my brother, the truth is emerging."
He said he was convinced that his brother was killed
"for his commitment to human rights, the rights of Christians,
for the brave denunciation against the blasphemy law."
"Now the investigation proves us right. We are hoping
for a rapid conclusion, with the capture of the perpetrators
of the crime. It would be a good sign for the health of the
state of law in Pakistan," said Paul.
He said he would honour the memory of his brother by
continuing "his work and his mission, working for the
protection of religious minorities throughout the country".