March 26, 2011
Wash. Post: Pakistani Christian official’s slaying stirs fear, discord
by Pamela Constable
The Washington Post
KHUSHPUR, Pakistan — For generations, this village in Punjab province has been a rare oasis of religious harmony. Muslims and Christians attend each other’s weddings and are buried in the same cemetery. Church bells and Islamic calls to prayer ring out from spires a few muddy streets apart. In recent years, a soccer tournament with mixed-faith teams became a regional attraction.
The man most identified with this achievement was Shabbaz Bhatti, the son of a local Catholic schoolmaster, who grew up to become a passionate advocate for minority rights and, two years ago, the first Christian member of the federal cabinet. When religious conflict flared elsewhere, Khushpur’s 5,000 residents felt shielded by Bhatti’s high-profile stature.
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