Washington, DC – Congressman Howard L. Berman, Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement on the killing of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Minister for Minority Affairs, outside his home in Islamabad. His killing comes after Salman Taseer, former Governor of Punjab, was shot and killed by a member of his own security detail for his promotion of religious tolerance on January 4, 2011.

“I am saddened to hear of the killing of Pakistan’s Minister of Minorities Mr. Shahbazz Bhatti this morning in Islamabad. Mr. Bhatti fought tirelessly to promote tolerance and to create a multi-cultural, open society in Pakistan. His killing highlights the growing climate of intolerance in Pakistan linked to the debate on the country’s blasphemy laws. It is my hope that Pakistanis of all faiths and views can stand united against these forces of intolerance and violence, and protect those Pakistanis engaging in this debate. I would like to convey my most sincere condolences to Mr. Bhatti's family at this difficult time.”