Congressman Frank Wolf Demands State Funeral For Pakistan's Murdered Christian Minister Bhatti

March 2, 2011 - San Francisco, CA - - Congressman Frank Wolf [R, VA] joined today in a bipartisan news conference demanding that Pakistan's Minister For Minority Affairs, Bhatti, be given the dignity of a State funeral after having been murdered by the Taliban for his opposition to Pakistan's increasing radicalization.

Mr. Wolf and the group also urged the Obama administration to send a high level delegation to attend the service.

About the tragic assassination, the Congressman stated, "We gather today under tragic circumstances - the assassination of Pakistan's Federal Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, a heroic man of faith whose courageous and outspoken leadership against his nation's draconian blasphemy law made him a prime target of extremist Islamist elements in his country. Bhatti was the only Christian member of the Pakistani cabinet. We have lost a friend and an ally and our prayers are with his Bhatti’s family and those in Pakistan who mourn his loss and who stood with him in his fight against injustice and intolerance. Bhatti devoted his life to defending the most vulnerable-he is literally a modern day martyr."

Wolf noted that Bhatti, despite the obvious risks associated with speaking out about Pakistan's Shari'a based blasphemy laws, "championed...Asia Bibi, a young Christian mother of five, who was sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy law. Only after international intervention was her execution delayed. Her fate, however, remains unclear."

He closed, urging, "the Government of Pakistan to seek justice in this case and to give Bhatti a state funeral, reflective of the import of his life and legacy..."

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