PA pays tribute to slain Bhatti

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LAHORE – The Punjab Assembly on Monday paid rich tribute to assassinated PPP minister Shahbaz Bhatti, calling him a man of principles and a committed political worker. On the second day of House proceedings, legislators from across the political divide, mainly from the minorities, paid rich tribute to Bhatti. They said Bhatti worked tirelessly for the rights of the oppressed and portraying a softer image of Pakistan in the world. The legislators called Bhatti’s assassination a great loss for the nation, adding that it had damaged the country’s image and deepened the sense of insecurity among minorities.
The legislators form minorities vowed to continue Bhatti’s mission that aimed at making Pakistan a state as envisaged by Quaid-e-Azam. Provincial Minister for Minorities Kamran Michael said Bhatti made efforts to make Pakistan a state as desired by Quaid-e-Azam. He Quaid-e-Azam talked about giving equal rights to all people, regardless of their religion, caste and tribe, but menace of class distinction and a few people had failed the dream of the country’s founder. He said that the tragedy was a matter of concern not only for the minorities but for the entire nation.
Michael said the blood of Shahbaz Bhatti would not go waste and the minorities would work for the solidarity of the country. Clarifying the federal government’s position on a point of order, Opposition Leader Raja Riaz said Bhatti used to avoid security protocol while going to meet his mother. But minority member Tahir Sindhu challenged Riaz’s claim, saying why had the federal government not provided a bullet proof vehicle and residence to Bhatti in the Minister’s Colony. Mrs Najmi Saleem said Shahbaz Bhatti had done practical work for the betterment of minorities that were unprecedented in the past.
She said the extremists had brutally killed Bhatti, which was an attempt to damage the image of Pakistan. Joel Amir Sahotra said it was the patriotism of minorities that they sang national anthem of Pakistan before offering prayers for Bhatti at his funereal. He said the treatment meted out to minorities foiled the tall claims and arguments about their protection and pledged that they would not loose courage and would continue their struggle to mould Pakistan in accordance with the ideals of Quaid-e-Azam. Pervez Rafiq said Quaid-e-Azam’s had said in his speech on August 11, 1947, that “minorities, to whichever community they may belong, would be safeguarded. Their religion or faith or belief would be secured.