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- Friday, March 04, 2011 - From Print Edition


ISLAMABAD: Condolences on the assassination of Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti continued to pour in on Thursday. The Spanish government expressed its strong condemnation. “Both as a leader of the Alliance for the All Pakistan Minorities (APMA) and from his responsibility as minister, Bhatti distinguished himself for his efforts in promoting intercultural and interfaith dialogue and the rights of all minorities in Pakistan.


“Spain’s government conveyed its deepest condolences to the family of the murdered minister and to the people and Government of Pakistan,” said a statement.


The French government was horrified and expressed its indignation over the assassination. “Everything must be done to identify and punish the culprits. The assassination has taken place in a worrying context of attacks on freedom of speech and religious freedom in Pakistan. Nobody can accept that a human being be assassinated for what his religion is or what he believes in. France saluted the memory of this political figure who bravely defended the rights of the minorities and promoted human rights.


“France had received Shahbaz Bhatti on the invitation of the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs. Today she offers her condolences to his family members and loved ones. France reaffirms her support to the Pakistani authorities; encourages them not to yield to extremism and to pursue their fight against terrorism and all forms of violence undermining civil liberties,” said a statement.


Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper said: “On behalf of our government and Canadians across the country, I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Minister Bhatti and to the Pakistani people. His death is a loss to the people of Pakistan and all those who shared his commitment to the promotion of tolerance and religious freedoms in that country. I had the honour of meeting Minister Bhatti last month and was greatly inspired by his courageous work in support of minority communities.”