Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

March 02, 2011 16:57 ET

Minister Kenney Condemns the Assassination of Pakistan's Minister of Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 2, 2011) - The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement condemning the assassination of Pakistan's Minister of Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti today.

"I am shocked and saddened to hear of the death today of my friend Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's Minister of Minorities.

"I had the honour of hosting the Minister when he was in Canada last month. Shahbaz Bhatti was a brave and honourable man. He was a champion of freedom and of all those who are persecuted for their faith.

"As the first and only Christian minister in the Pakistani government, he understood intimately the importance of protecting religious and ethnic minorities. In his too short life, he worked tirelessly to defend religious freedom and human rights in Pakistan and around the world, not least through his public condemnation of his country's blasphemy laws. His murder demonstrates just how courageous he was in this campaign.

"When I saw him last month, I was struck by how resigned he was about his expected martyrdom. He told me that he would not marry, because he did not want to leave a widow or orphans behind when that time came. 

"The Government of Canada continues to call upon Pakistan to prevent the abuse of these laws criminalizing blasphemy, which restrict freedom of religion and expression and have disproportionately targeted religious minorities. We also call on Pakistan to conduct a full investigation into this brutal murder and bring the assassins to justice.

"On behalf of the Government of Canada, I offer my deepest condolences to all who knew and loved Shahbaz Bhatti. I offer them to the people of Pakistan as well. We will miss his courage and leadership."

Contact Information

  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Minister's Office
    Alykhan Velshi
    or
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Communications Branch
    Media Relations
    613-952-1650
    CIC-Media-Relations@cic.gc.ca