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Thursday, 10 March 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Pakistan - murder of Shahbaz Bhatti, Minister for Minorities

  Tadeusz Zwiefka (PPE), in writing.(PL) Two months ago in plenary, and it was also during a debate on human rights, we condemned the attack on the Governor of the Province of Punjab, Salman Taseer. The subject of discussion was the same as the one we are talking about today – attempts at reforming the controversial blasphemy legislation. The two tragic events are closely related to each other, because the victims had worked together on behalf of national minorities in Pakistan, including religious minorities, and in defence of those who have fallen victim to the ideology of intolerance spread by the Taliban.

Unfortunately, the Western world can only look on at the advancing radicalisation of attitudes in the country, where not even a decade ago, Benazir Bhutto was introducing democratic reforms. Pakistan is sinking into chaos – the Taliban are terrorising the country and with increasing frequency are carrying out attacks like the one which took place in Punjab on 8 March, for example, in which 25 people were killed.

Reports have now appeared of the next person whom the extremists have sentenced to death – Member of the Pakistani Parliament, former journalist and defender of women’s rights, religious minorities and freedom of speech, Sherry Rehman. It was she who submitted to the Pakistani Parliament a draft of amendments to legislation on punishments for blasphemy. At the next part-session, will we be condemning an attack made on her?

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