By Sara Angle, Catholic News Service
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ROME (CNS) --Paul Bhatti, brother of the former Pakistani minister for minorities who was murdered by Islamic extremists, said he and his family forgive his brother's assassins.Nothing destroys the power our enemies have over us than forgiveness. Paul Bhatti is a powerful example of how forgiveness frees us to continue the work that needs to be done in this world, no matter what the cost.
Shahbaz Bhatti, who spoke out against Pakistan's anti-blasphemy laws and encouraged religious freedom, was killed March 2.
Speaking to reporters in Rome April 5, Paul Bhatti said his family has forgiven Shahbaz's assassins, "because our faith teaches us to do this. Our brother Shahbaz was a Christian and the Christian faith tells us to forgive."
The assassinated minister's brother told the conference, "To obtain peace in the world we must all walk together ... (peace) is a universal responsibility."
He said his brother never compromised his faith-motivated work for social justice and, he said, Shahbaz Bhatti once said explicitly that he "left his life in the hands of Jesus."
Paul Bhatti asked for prayers and support to keep Shahbaz's life work going.
While he said he and his family have forgiven the assassins, he said there was a need to clarify what happened and find the perpetrators to prevent a similar crime from happening in the future.
"The person who killed him did not extinguish his light because we will continue his battle with strength and determination," he said.
Paul Bhatti recently assumed the position of the Pakistani president's "special adviser" for religious minorities and he told reporters his first priority is to promote the real integration of minorities into Pakistani society, "talking with Muslims and reducing sentiments of hatred."