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Wednesday
Mar022011

Pakistani Minister Shot and Killed in Islamabad

Photo Courtesy - Jewel Samad/AFP/ Getty Images(ISLAMABAD, Pakistan) -- The Pakistani minister for minorities affairs was shot and killed by gunmen in Islamabad Wednesday.

According to police, Shahbaz Bhatti was traveling in his car when unknown gunmen shot at his vehicle multiple times from close range.  Bhatti was taken to the hospital in critical condition, where he was later pronounced dead.

No suspects have yet been detained.  Although the motive is not clear, Bhatti, the only Christian minister in Pakistan's court, may have been attacked because he spoke against the country's blasphemy laws, which are often used to persecute religious minorities.

Bhatti's death comes two months after Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer was assassinated, making it the second major attack on moderate Pakistani politicians.  Taseer, like Bhatti, spoke against the blasphemy laws.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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