By Jawad Mazhar, BosNewsLife Special Correspondent reporting from Pakistan

Minister Shabaz Bhatti speaks to reporters and lawyers at the Ambassador Hotel in Lahore, Pakistan. Jawad Mazhar for BosNewsLife
Minister Shabaz Bhatti speaks to reporters and lawyers at the Ambassador Hotel in Lahore, Pakistan. Jawad Mazhar for BosNewsLife

LAHORE, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– Pakistan’s Minister of Minorities Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti,has launched a public campaign aimed at annulling controversial blasphemy legislation amid concerns Thursday, February 12, over Islamic extremism against Christians and other minorities in the country.

Bhatti made the announcement shortly after protesters surrounded a Pakistani courthouse and chanted death threats against a Punjabi Christian peace activist who was allegedly framed for sending a “blasphemous” text message last month on his cell phone. Shahbaz Bhatti

Hector Aleem, who is in his 50s and director of a Christian rights group, was detained last month shortly after a local man allegedly complained to authorities of sending the message on his cellphone.

His 24-year-old daughter Mehvish said in published remarks that a mob, including Muslim clerics, went to a local court late January demanding he be handed over to them so that they can put him to death.


It came shortly after police raided Aleem’s house in the city of Rawalpindi at 1:30 a.m local time on on January 22, and allegedly assaulted him, his wife and his two daughters, according to his family.

They also stole 50,000 Pakistan rupees (US$630) worth of valuables and broke pictures of Jesus hanging on their walls, the Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) said. At a February 2 hearing at an anti-terrorism court, Judge Sakhi Mohammad Kohut exonerated him of blasphemy charges but did not clear him of abetting, apparently under pressure of clerics.

He was believed to be behind bars Thursday, February 12, at Adiyala Jail in Rawalpindi pending further investigations. Although five other Christians accused of blasphemy were released last month, Aleem’s case underscored concerns that many others and even Muslims, still face persecution.

Minister Bhatti, a Christian, told BosNewsLife that even at universities and other education institutions Muslims get often higher marks than Christians. “I want to ensure Christians get the same marks as Muslims at the time of admission for professional institutes, such as medical and engineering universities and colleges,” he said.


“Just as Muslim student get 20 grace marks for knowing the Koran, Christians students with Biblical knowledge should also be given 20 grace marks at the time of admission to professional institutes.”

Chistian lawyers discuss how to end blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Jawad Mazhar for BosNewsLife     Chistian lawyers discuss how to end blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Jawad Mazhar for BosNewsLife
Chistian lawyers discuss how to end blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Jawad Mazhar for BosNewsLife

Bhatti suggested that blasphemy laws have been used to settle personal scores in this predominantly Islamic nation and said he wants Christian journalists and lawyers to help him overturn the legislation by influencing public opinion.

“Christian journalists and lawyers can play a vital role in abolition of black Blasphemy Laws and other discriminatory laws, legislated to let down Christians of Pakistan”, he said at a news conference in the town of Lahore.

Even Muslims suffer under the blasphemy laws, rights groups claim. Last month five members of the Ahmadi community, a Muslim minority considered heretical by other Muslims, were reportedly detained on charges of writing offensive words about Muhammad in the latrines of a mosque in the village of Chank of Punjab province.


Among those detained were reportedly three 14-year old boys, a 16-year old and a 45-year-old man. At least 266 members of Ahmadi community were allegedly arrested since blasphemy legislation was introduced in Pakistan in 1986.

Bhatti, who also leads the advocacy group All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, said there were some positive developments, including the government’s decision to to induct senators from Christian and other religious minorities, although the five senators are less than the nine he had requested.

He said he managed to achieve a five percent quota for Christians in all government jobs.

In addition plans are underway to improve the life of residents in Christian slums located on government owned land. He said residents would receive key facilities, including natural gas deliveries, sewage systems, telephone and Internet.


  1. Shahbaz Bhatti have two faces. One for Government and one for Christians. Ask him or to your correspondent like this news published in the Pakistani National Urdu medi also or its just for internet magazines?

    In the Goverment he says the minorities enjoying the equal rights and now he is demanding the rights what is this nonsence. You can search every thing at any search engine like google about him and his double standard work and statements.

    Please do’t promote this man.

    Pastor Jack

  2. Dear Pastor Jack,

    We are not in the business of “promoting” anyone, but to report on key news developments and different opinions. Minister Bhatti has been followed by Pakistani media as well. We will closely and critically report on his actions, whenever necessary.

    Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife News Agency

  3. but he did nothin for my father. he is a minority minister he should have taken the action on the first priority but he didn’t. mehwish aleem daughter of hector aleem

  4. Mr.hecto Aleem Pakistani CHrisitan and many others are being persecuted by Pakistani government because of the Misuse of Blasphemy law.The authorities must take a action against these kind of issues.Otherwise innocent Chrisitians will be finished one day as if the one victim is caught and behind his/her whole family suffered.

  5. it is obviously correct action which is taken by shahbaz Bhatti at right time .As concerened with the statement by paster jack i think it is little bit apt but the same time we must also remember that it is politics and shahbaz bhatti has to take some instant actions

  6. Thank You for that post! It’s been a long day and your info just set me right. Now I can see what other good info is out there. Cheers.

  7. Dear Miss Mehwish,
    I am an O levels’ student and I just came across your story.First of all I am extremely sorry for all this which is happening around.Secondly can you please kindly tell me whom to contact so that I get people and myself to write petitions in favour of your father.
    Usmann Rana

  8. I wanna know the specific law in Paksitan which forbids converting Muslims from Islam…I ‘m not that good a Googler yet. 🙂


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