Bilawal Bhutto vows to defend minorities’ rights, strive against misuse of blasphemy laws

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday said his party believed in defending the rights of all minorities, and also shared the concerns over the misuse of blasphemy laws.

“This is the concern of not only the Christian community but of all of us. It is my concern too,” Bilawal Bhutto said while speaking at a Reference organized by All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) on the 7th Martyrdom Anniversary of Shahbaz Bhatti in Islamabad.

Bilawal said blasphemy laws had been used as a tool by extremists to settle personal scores. He said they had been used to grab properties of Christians and other non-Muslims.

“We must prevent their misuse. We will,” he said.

The Chairman PPP said as his party believed in defending the rights of all minorities, it had nominated a Christian Anwar Lal Dean on reserved seat from Sindh and a Dalit woman Krishna Kohli on general seat for women for tomorrow’s Senate Elections.

Bilawal Bhutto said today they had a broad based national consensus against terrorism and extremism but a decade ago there was no consensus.

“We must drive out from our midst the militants, extremists and religious fanatics. We will. We will fight sectarianism, militancy and extremism. We will fight it for peace and security,” the Chairman PPP said.

Furthermore, he said the project “private jihad” had brought the State and society face to face with existential threat. “We must dismantle the project private jihad,” he said.

“We will fight it and restore the confidence of the people, Muslims and Non-Muslims alike.”

Bilawal also paid glowing tribute to Shahbaz Bhatti and hailed his services for peace and harmony among faiths.

It is worth mentioning here that Shahbaz Bhatti, a member of PPP and the Country’s first Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs, was assassinated in Islamabad on March 2, 2011.

The Chairman PPP said Shahbaz Bhatti wanted to make this World beautiful by delivering a message of peace, togetherness, unity and tolerance.

“Shahbaz Bhatti’s assassination at the hands of bigots was not just a loss of a political party; it was a loss of the nation,” Bilawal Bhutto said.

“I also wish to pay tribute to those courageous individuals who have suffered for the cause of interfaith harmony. Those who have suffered for upholding the right of the non-Muslims freely to profess and practice their religion. They are the heroes and heroines of the nation.”