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Slain Pak minister a martyr, says Archbishop

world Updated: Mar 07, 2011 21:34 IST

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called the assassinated Pakistan minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti a 'martyr' and asked the government of Pakistan to do more to protect its minorities.

Writing in The Times on Monday, Dr Rowan Williams said the murder of Pakistan's only Christian cabinet minister, cannot be "managed or tolerated".

Bhatti died "for all practical purposes as a martyr," wrote Dr Williams, and added: "Not simply for his Christian faith, but for a vision shared between Pakistani Christians and Muslims."

Bhatti was killed in an ambush by gunmen as he drove away from his mother's home.

Williams said Bhatti was a martyr and Pakistan was being blackmailed by extremists.

Williams also attacked in his article the country's controversial blasphemy laws that were also criticised by Bhatti.

Williams wrote: "Part of the problem is the weakening of properly traditional Islam by the populist illiteracies of modern extremism."

Those who supported Mr Bhatti's killing, said the Archbishop, "inhabit a world of fantasy, shot through with paranoid anxiety."

Williams claimed there was a faction in Pakistan "wholly uninterested in justice and due process of law, concerned only with promoting an inhuman pseudo-religious tyranny."

The Archbishop called for a debate in Pakistan about the blasphemy laws, because "part of the problem is the weakening of properly traditional Islam by the populist illiteracies of modern extremism."