Monday, May 16, 2011

Pakistan renames "Department of Religious Minorities"

Shahbaz Bhatti was killed
in March. His brother Paul
was recently named to the
Federal Ministry for Inter-
faith Harmony and Minorities
in Pakistan.
The Department of Religious Minorities in Pakistan has been renamed “Federal Ministry for Interfaith Harmony and Minorities,” reported Agenzia Fides.

Paul Bhatti, brother of the slain minister Shahbaz Bhatti, was named “Special Advisor to the Prime Minister,” and lawyer Akram Masih Gill was named “Minister of the State” (a sort of “Deputy Minister”).

Riaz Hussein Pirzada, a Muslim and member of the Muslim League-Q, was unexpectedly appointed a few days ago at the summit of the Ministry and has now assumed office as “Minister of Health.” His appointment did not find consensus among the religious minorities in Pakistan, and discontent on behalf of the international community reached the Pakistani government.

Pirzada publically said that he was “not entirely satisfied” with the assignment given to him and would like another one.

Sources told Fides that the Christian community in Pakistan hopes this move is the final structure of the Ministry. Adding reference to “interfaith harmony” strengthens the work begun by Shabhaz Bhatti who had obtained a promise of funding from the U.S. government to promote interfaith harmony in Pakistan.

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