14 March 2012
March held in memory of Shahbaz Bhatti in London
Christians, religious leaders, academics and members of the public took part in a march to remember Shahbaz Bhatti and to raise awareness of the persecution of minorities in Pakistan.
Mr Bhatti, a politician, Christian and outspoken critic of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, was murdered on 2 March last year.
On Saturday (10 March), the British Pakistani Christian Association led a protest at the Pakistan Embassy and 10 Downing Street, followed by a protest march to Trafalgar Square where a large rally was held.
Outside the Pakistan Embassy, a 12-hour worship service took place during which a minute’s silence was held for Mr Bhatti, who was the country’s minister for minorities.
Among those who took part in the march were John Newton from Aid to the Church in Need, Martin Mawyer of the Christian Action Network and Manoj Raithatha of the Alliance’s South Asian Forum.
Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakisani Christian Association, which organised the event, said: “This was a coming together of academics, humanitarians and politicians from across the globe unified in their condemnation of the suffering minorities in the Islamic world.
“Shahbaz Bhatti’s death has galvanised Pakistan’s minorities who have held various memorials and global protests to mark the death of a great humanitarian. Twenty-seven bullets were unable to stop his legacy of peace which has spread across the globe.
“The clock is ticking and one day I believe Pakistan will become the egalitarian nation originally envisioned by its founder Muhammed Ali Jinnah.”