Bhatti made a life’s work of campaigning for tolerance in Pakistan, which is 95 percent Muslim, and most recently became a lonely voice, with a handful of others, in a campaign to reform the harsh blasphemy law.
Organized by The All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), the gathering was attended by church leaders and representatives of all recognized churches in Pakistan, parliamentarians, politicians, APMA leadership and APMA workers from across the country.
Group Captain (Retd.) Cecil Chaudhry, Executive Secretary General of the APMA, highlighted the life and works of Bhatti, including his numerous achievements prior to becoming the Federal Minister for Minorities which included the formation of APMA.
He emphasized Bhatti’s struggle to make Pakistan a “non-discriminative State” as envisioned by the father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, where, he said “every citizen would enjoy equal rights and complete freedom of religion.”
Going forward, the APMA will “continue to strive to realize Shahbaz Bhattti’s dream,” which was the repeal of all discriminatory laws, the blasphemy laws in particular, and to make Pakistan a non-discriminative state where every citizen would have equal rights, religious freedom and equal opportunities in a free society.
Dr. Paul Bhatti, brother of Shahbaz Bhatti, returned to Pakistan from Italy following his brother’s death and was subsequently appointed chairman of the APMA. He was also appointed advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Minority Affairs, with the status of a federal minister.
Dr. Bhatti vowed to “strive to accomplish the cause and mission” of his late brother and to lead APMA with Shahbaz Bhatti’s vision and ideology.