HRCP outraged at murders of Minorities Minister, and an HRCP Coordinator

Press release: HRCP outraged at foul murders

Lahore, March 2: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed its sense of outrage and grief at the murder of Federal Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti and HRCP coordinator in Khuzdar district Naeem Sabir and called the assassinations the work of militants out to eliminate anyone who raises his voice against persecution of the vulnerable people.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, HRCP said: “The assassins of Federal Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti and Mr Naeem Sabir, HRCP coordinator in Khuzdar district, may perhaps belong to different groups but they represent the militant hardliners who are out to obliterate the rights of the non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan and eliminate the human rights defenders who raise their voice against persecution on any ground. HRCP expresses its sense of outrage and deep grief at the foul murders.

While Mr Shahbaz Bhatti had been active as a human rights defender before he joined the federal cabinet, as a minister he had confined himself to performing his official duties. HRCP shares the anguish of his family at this difficult time. His murder says much about the state of security for the ordinary Pakistanis who do not share the religious faith of the majority.

Naeem Sabir had been associated with HRCP since 1997 and had been promoting human rights in Khuzdar with courage and devotion. Of and on he had been targeted for his activities by minions of the state. But in the recent past he had apparently given no cause for offense to anyone except the local satraps who could not bear his truthful coverage of human rights abuses. HRCP deeply condoles Naeem’s death and shares the grief of his widow and a less than two year old child. HRCP demands that those responsible for the killing must be brought to justice and that the government must do all it can to ensure that the two murders do not join a long list of similar killings where impunity for the killers and perpetrators has been the norm. The Commission also reminds the government of its responsibility to offer succour to the bereaved families.”

Dr Mehdi Hasan

From Citizens for Democracy

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