02 March 2011
Response to assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti
The Evangelical Alliance is deeply shocked and saddened at news that Shahbaz Bhatti has been assassinated.
Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's Minorities Minister and the only Christian member of the cabinet, was shot dead by gunmen while on his way to a meeting in Lahore on 2 March. He had dared to defy death threats he received for his efforts to reform the country's blasphemy law.
The Evangelical Alliance says these laws are being used to target Christians in particular. Steve Clifford, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance, said: "It is outrageous that the Pakistan Government seems unable to protect its minorities, and in particular Christians."
Dr Don Horrocks, Head of Public Affairs at the Evangelical Alliance, met Shahbaz Bhatti in person at a meeting of the UK Christian Muslim Forum.
In response to today's news, Dr Horrocks said: "The Pakistan Government appears to be turning their backs on the problem. They repeatedly make concessions to those who would intimidate minorities, seeming at best passive, and at worst complicit, in the face of persecution of Christians and others."
Dr Horrocks added: "The Pakistan Government must follow their condemnation of the cold-blooded murder of Shahbaz Bhatti with strong action to convict those responsible and to protect Christians from continued violence."
Manoj Raithatha, Coordinator for the South Asian Forum of the Alliance, is appealing to Christians to commit to praying and fasting for fellow believers living in hostile regions.
The Evangelical Alliance supports the UK Government's condemnation of the attack and encourages it to continue to exert maximum pressure on Pakistan - which receives significant aid from the UK - to prevent future violence, attacks and intimidation towards Christians
Tel: 07766 444 650
Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.