Pakistani Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti has been shot dead by gunmen who ambushed his car in broad daylight in the capital, Islamabad, reports the BBC.Mr Bhatti, the cabinet's only Christian minister, had received death threats for urging reform to blasphemy laws, which are routinely used by Muslims to settle scores against their Christian neighbours.
In January, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who had also opposed the law, was shot dead by one of his bodyguards.
The shooting raises new fears for Pakistani Christians. Last month I reported on the case of a family, one of whom wrote an article in a Pakistani magazine last September calling for the repeal of the blasphemy laws. The family fled Pakistan after an attempt on their lives and have applied for asylum in the UK.
I am happy to report that they have been taken off the 'Fast Track' and released while their cases are considered.
The murder of the Minorities Minister and the Governor of Punjab proves the danger in which Pakistani Christians find themselves. Christians are under threat in the UK, but of loss of livelihood, not loss of life. Being a Christian in Pakistan is a hazardous journey.
PRAY: Thank God that this family have been released and taken off the 'Fast Track'. Pray they will be granted asylum in the United Kingdom.
Please also pray for the families of Shahbaz Bhatti and Salman Taseer, and do remember to pray for the oppressed, downtrodden and voiceless Christians in Pakistan and especially for mother of five Asia Bibi, who is still on death row for blasphemy, and for other Christians behind bars accused of blasphemy including Imran Ghafoor and Rehmat Masih.