British PM condemns 'unacceptable' Pakistan murder

2nd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the murder of a Catholic Pakistani government minister Wednesday was "absolutely brutal and unacceptable".

"It was absolutely shocking news," Cameron told the House of Commons after minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti became the second high-profile opponent of an Islamic blasphemy law to be killed in Islamabad.

Cameron said the minister's murder was "absolutely brutal and unacceptable, and it shows what a huge problem we have in our world with intolerance".

"I will send not only our condolences but our clearest possible message to the government and people of Pakistan that this is simply unacceptable," he added.

Earlier, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the leader of the worldwide Anglican church, expressed his shock at the murder and urged Pakistan to protect minorities.

"It is with the greatest shock and sorrow that we have heard of the assassination of Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, minister for religious minorities in Pakistan," he said in a joint statement with Archbishop of York John Sentamu.

"This further instance of sectarian bigotry and violence will increase anxiety worldwide about the security of Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan, and we urge that the government of Pakistan will do all in its power to bring to justice those guilty of such crimes and to give adequate protection to minorities.

"Meanwhile, we assure Mr Bhatti's family of our prayers and deep sympathy, and promise our continuing support for all those of whatever faiths who are working for justice and stability in Pakistan."

Bhatti, a member of Pakistan's tiny Christian community, had been a vocal opponent of the country's controversial blasphemy law despite receiving death threats following the murder of another politician opposed to the law.

© 2011 AFP

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