Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI is praying that the assassination of Pakistan’s sole Christian minister last week will spur efforts to safeguard religious freedom for all people.
Benedict had met at the Vatican last year with Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s minority affairs minister. Bhatti, a Catholic, was battling to stop abuses under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
The pope had appealed for the release of a Christian woman in Pakistan facing the death penalty for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
Bhatti was shot dead on Wednesday. Benedict told the public in St. Peter’s Square Sunday he hopes that Bhatti’s “moving sacrifice” will wake up consciences to find the courage to work for religious freedom and equal dignity for all in Pakistan.