Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the assassination of Pakistani Minister Shahbaz Bhatti

Ottawa, Ontario
2 March 2011

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement expressing his condolences after the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Minister of Minorities:

“On behalf of our Government and Canadians across the country, I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, and to the Pakistani people in the wake of his assassination. His death is a loss to the people of Pakistan and all those who shared his commitment to the promotion of tolerance and religious freedoms in that country.

“I had the honour of meeting Minister Bhatti last month and was greatly inspired by his courageous work in support of minority communities and human rights in Pakistan.  Canada also shares a unique link with the Bhatti family, as Shabaz’s brother, Peter Bhatti, is a Canadian citizen. Canada will remember and honour Minister Bhatti's legacy of working for a peaceful, tolerant Pakistan.

“Canada stands against those who commit gutless acts of murderous violence and extremism, and calls for the Pakistani authorities to bring those responsible to justice.

“Canada also continues to urge Pakistan to prevent the abuse of its blasphemy laws, which restrict freedom of religion and expression and have disproportionately targeted religious minorities, and to protect individuals who choose to speak out on these issues.”