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Thursday, 10 March 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Pakistan - murder of Shahbaz Bhatti, Minister for Minorities

  Catherine Stihler, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, I, too, wanted to pay tribute to the courage and the work of Shahbaz Bhatti. I know many colleagues in this House have met him personally and his determination to work for minority communities in Pakistan, to hold up their rights, is an example to us all. The fact is that he put his life on the line; he knew that the threats were increasing, and his bravery should be recognised. He has lost his life and we in this House have lost a friend.

So what can we do? I think there are a number of important points in this resolution. Paragraph 13 about calling on the competent EU institutions to include the issue of religious tolerance in society is vitally important. I would also call on the Commission, in talks and in trade issues as well, to bring up the issue of human rights too. Paragraph 19 about the institutions and the government of Pakistan is also important, as is the call for recognition of democracy and human rights.

I think that, at the end of the day, we all would like to make sure our condolences are sent and I hope the President of Parliament will send a personal letter to Shahbaz Bhatti’s mother. His funeral was last week and I think that is also important.

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