ISLAMABAD: While all PPP ministers enjoy bulletproof BMWs for their security, the Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti has been left on his own without similar security, despite serious life threats.
“The party colleagues, including cabinet members, are not only constantly overlooking to give him proper safety cover but also keeping themselves away from expressing concerns on existing dangerous circumstance for him involving his life,” sources close to the minister said. They pointed out that Bhatti’s office is situated outside the red zone and he is provided with two guards at his residence, contrary to the dozens of the ministers roaming around in bulletproof vehicles and escorted by caravans of security personnel.
To a question, these sources added that precautionary measures are insufficient with the ordinary security he has been given since he assumed the minister’s job. “No, Bhatti does not have bulletproof vehicle as he travels in routine official vehicles.”
President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik were apprised about the security concerns shortly after assassination of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer. “But nothing has been put in place till now to avert any untoward incident.” “The minister is being targeted in public rallies despite almost all the top government functionaries have made it clear, again and again, that there was no committee working under his chairmanship on making changes in blasphemy laws.” When contacted for comment, Shahbaz Bhatti confirmed that he is under severe life threat particularly after the assassination of Punjab governor. “I am getting threats and was warned that I would be beheaded and would be meted out the treatment similar to Mr Taseer.”
To a question he said that he would continue to follow his stand on the misuse of blasphemy laws. “There should be no misuse of these laws. We, like the Muslim community, have great respect for Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him (PBUH) and cannot even think about blasphemy.”