Islamabad (Agenzia Fides) - "In the diocese of Islamabad, the canonical process of declaring the martyrdom of Shahbaz Bhatti is once again being taken into consideration. Already some years ago, with Bishop Rufin Anthony, the gathering of testimonies to open the Diocesan phase of the cause began. Then the Bishop's premature death caused a physiological waiting time. Now, with new Bishop Joseph Arshad, the collection of testimonies will be resumed. In Pakistan, the faithful desire and hope with all their hearts that Shahbaz Bhatti can soon to be recognized by the Church as a martyr for the faith". This was declared to Agenzia Fides by Paul Bhatti, brother of the Catholic minister killed by the hand of a terrorist in Islamabad on 2 March 2011. Paul Bhatti, after having inherited Shahbaz's legacy and serving his country as Minister of Harmony, is still president of the "All Pakistan Minorities Alliance" movement, founded by his brother, and leads the "Shahbaz Foundation", created precisely to continue in the world today the work of the minister killed.
"I registered in the diocese the maximum availability to continue the work of collecting testimonies in favor of Shahbaz. Now a special committee will have to be set up to collect and order all the material: Christians and non-Christians tell of his dedication, his apostolic commitment, his deep faith, his charity, the strength he had, gift of the grace of God, in instilling hope to others".
Paul reports: "Many remember having implored Shahbaz to go abroad and to save himself while he was being threatened: but my brother never wanted to abandon his people, especially the most defenseless and vulnerable. He had no personal ambitions but only a profound desire for good, which was constantly nourished and sustained by prayer and by a deep-rooted relationship with God, from which flowed his love for others, without any distinction. Shabaz was a seed of peace, dialogue, reconciliation for Pakistan: He was an authentic witness to the faith that God wanted to give to our land, our hope and our commitment continues: we will do all we can to contribute to the process that, if God wants, will lead the universal Church to recognize the martyrdom of Shahbaz". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 30/11/2019)