NCIDE holds Bhatti memorial service


LAHORE – The National Commission for inter-religious Dialogue and Ecumenism, NCIDE and All Pakistan Ulema & Mushaikh Council organised an interfaith memorial service the other day at St. Mary’s Church for Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, former federal minister for minority affairs. Representatives from Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Baha’i and Sikh communities were invited to recite prayers for Mr. Bhatti and his mission to promote interfaith peace and coexistence. His Lordship Bishop Dr. Andrew Francis, chairman of NCIDE, started the Memorial service with a keynote address saying that “We must all salute and pray for Shahbaz Bhatti.
His commitment and dedication to Pakistan was remarkable and he gave his life for the people of Pakistan. He as peace ambassador wanted three things i.e., freedom of religion, conscious freedom of conscience and freedom of speech for people of all religions.” Pundit Haroon Sarab Dayal added to the memorial that Shahbaz Bhatti Stood for minorities’ rights and wanted to provide them equal opportunity, as for all citizens of Pakistan. Representatives from the Sikh community Sardar Taranjeet Singh and Ghani Ranjeet Singh from Gurdwara Dera Sahib elaborated that Shahbaz Bhatti wanted to build a Pakistan as envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
The Baha’i representatives recited prayers of their faith in honour of Shahbaz Bhatti. Chairman All Pakistan Ulema & Mushaikh Council, Maulana Zabir Abid said that the clerics had gathered to salute Shahbaz Bhatti because he was not only a Christian but a true Pakistani. He was a peace ambassador and represented Pakistan at various international levels. Maulana Abid prayed for better times in Pakistan and for the bloodshed to stop. Mufti Mubashir Ahmed and Khalid Gill, chief organiser of All Pakistan Minorities Alliance were also present at the memorial servic.