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Archbishop of Canterbury calls slain Pak Christian minister 'a martyr'.

London, Mar 8(ANI): The Archbishop of Canterbury has called slain Pakistan Minorities Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti a "martyr", and urged the Pakistan Government to do more to protect its minorities.

Dr Rowan Williams said the murder of Pakistan's only Christian cabinet minister could not be "managed or tolerated", the BBC reported.

Bhatti was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Islamabad on Wednesday for championing the case of Aasia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who was sentenced to death last November for allegedly committing blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad. His opposition to the country's strict blasphemy laws had brought a stream of death threats to him.

Writing in London's Times, Dr Williams said Bhatti was a martyr, and that Pakistan was being blackmailed by extremists.

Those who supported the Christian minister's killing "inhabit a world of fantasy, shot through with paranoid anxiety," he added.

Dr Williams claimed that there was a faction in Pakistan, which was "wholly uninterested in justice and due process of law, concerned only with promoting an inhuman pseudo-religious tyranny."

The Archbishop called for a debate in Pakistan about the country's controversial blasphemy laws, because "part of the problem is the weakening of properly traditional Islam by the populist illiteracies of modern extremism."

Bhatti died "for all practical purposes as a martyr," said Dr Williams, adding, "Not simply for his Christian faith, but for a vision shared between Pakistani Christians and Muslims." (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Mar 8, 2011
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