Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my privilege and great honor to be among you on this special occasion to commemorate the 11th Septembre twin tower attack of USA, which has changed the whole world. I would like to thank the community of St.Egidio, and Archdiocese of Munich for this opportunity to speak on this significant event. Talking about the Martyrs and witness of faith who have given their life to create a peaceful world where love, peace and human dignity are granted. I am proud to state that my younger brother Shahbaz Bhatti gave his life during his battle against religious intolerance.
The assassination of my beloved brother Clement Shahbaz Bhatti has left us shattered, shocked, heartbroken and angry. The religious minorities in Pakistan have lost a bold and courageous leader. Who despite all threats and warnings continued to fearlessly raise a voice against discrimination and religious intolerance.
Shahbaz Bhatti’s assassination has taken away from Pakistan a true patriot and the world has lost a courageous activist.
As for me, my loss goes beyond all of the above – I, have lost my brother and colleague.
Shahbaz Bhatti has started his struggle for over 28 years when he was still in school at our native village khushpur, with nothing but conviction and extremely meager resources to back him, his mission was to strive to liberate the persecuted Christians of Pakistan from the clutches of religious discrimination, hate, injustice and intolerance and even at that young age he was prepared to face the adversities and threats that were to follow,
He dedicated his entire life to the struggle of the religious minorities of Pakistan; He fought against discrimination, intolerance and religious disharmony, he cherished the idea of interfaith harmony, tolerance and equality in a free society, in which all persons would live together in harmony with equal opportunities and it is for this vision that he lived and hoped to see it realized some day, and if the need ever arose it was for this ideal that he was prepared to die.
It was his unwavering belief in “Jinnah’s Pakistan” that made Shahbaz Bhatti dedicate twenty eight years of his life to strive to create a Pakistan that the father of the nation Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had envisioned with a country where everybody is free to express his faith without discrimination of race, creed and coloure.
He was a bold and courageous person; he knew what he wanted and how to achieve it and he made sure that nothing and no one was going to dissuade him.
He was an extremely humble, shy and down to earth person; even after assuming the position of Federal Minister he continued to live a simple life. He shied away from the glamour that came with the position he held, his only focus and concern in life was to make Pakistan a non discriminative State, where people of all faiths would have equal rights, religious freedom and equal opportunities in the progress of the country.
I have been asked to put an end to my battle, but I have always refused, even at the risk of my own life. My response has always been the same. I do not want popularity, I do not want positions of power. I only want a place at the feet of Jesus. I want my life, my character, my actions to speak of me and say that I am following Jesus Christ. This desire is so strong in me that I consider myself privileged whenever – in my combative effort to help the needy, the poor, the persecuted Christians of Pakistan – Jesus should wish to accept the sacrifice of my life. I want to live for Christ and it is for Him that I want to die. I do not feel any fear in this country.
After taking oath as Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti while talking to the media stated “I as a humble servant of Jesus Christ will continue to serve the suffering, victimized and persecuted communities and am ready to even sacrifice my life to defend the principles of religious freedom, human equality and the rights of minorities.”
In a country like Pakistan where Islamic extremism and religious intolerance has hit the highest point, Shahbaz Bhatti openly and publically proclaimed his faith in Jesus Christ, his life in itself was a miracle of God; he lived by the teachings of the Gospel, and died for his faith, respect for human dignity and religious freedom.
Every time I would ask him to be cautious, as his life was in grave danger he would smile and say “I have put myself in Jesus’ hands and He will protect me”
Shahbaz Bhatti bore witness to Jesus Christ with his blood and remained faithful to the principles he believed in.
One of his last public statements was: "These Taliban threaten me. But I want to share that I believe in Jesus Christ, who has given his own life for us. I know what is the meaning of the cross, and I am following the cross," which he followed all the way, to his last breath.
I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Shahbaz Bhatti continues to work for his people from the special place granted to him in God’s home.
The mission of Shabaz creating a peaceful society where welfare,protection and human dignity are granted, will continue and the blood of Shahbaz Bhatti will not have been shed in vain.
We will continue to stand up for the rights of those who are persecuted under the brutality of these unjust intolerance.