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Thursday, 10 March 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Pakistan - murder of Shahbaz Bhatti, Minister for Minorities

  Jean Lambert, author. – Mr President, I think all of us have been very deeply shocked and appalled by the assassination of Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, not least because he is someone known to us in this Parliament: he has visited here, he has met many of us; but also because this is another highly symbolic killing, striking at someone who was looking for reconciliation and work across all minorities in Pakistan.

We should also add our condolences not only to his family, but also to all the families of those who have been killed in terrorist attacks in Pakistan. This week, we have seen two such attacks, which have killed and injured more people than, for example, the London bombings.

The whole population is suffering, and intimidation is undermining democracy in Pakistan. We are seeing a change in the demographics of certain constituencies, for example, Quetta, as intimidation works to force people out.

Our resolution is important in terms of wanting to continue and support the work, in terms of tolerance and mutual understanding. I would like to make the point that we need that in the European Union, too, where certain recent ministerial statements, in my view, have not helped that. So we expect leadership in Pakistan and in the European Union.

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