Pakistan announces three days of mourning for Bhatti
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday announced three days of official mourning for Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, who was assassinated by Taliban militants for opposing Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law.
Gilani further announced that the national flag would remain at half mast on Friday.
"The white portion of the flag represents minorities, which shows Pakistan's commitment for their rights and welfare," Gilani said in a brief statement issued by his office.
Bhatti, 42, was shot dead by at least four militants, a short distance from his home in Islamabad on Wednesday.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the assassination, saying Bhatti was killed for calling for changes in the blasphemy law.
The killers left pamphlets at the site of the attack that warned others opposing the blasphemy law would be killed too.
Bhatti was the only Christian member of Gilani’s cabinet and a vocal campaigner for the rights of the country’s minority communities.
He earned the ire of militants and religious hardliners last year after he called on the President Asif Ali Zardari to pardon Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammed.