Mr. Speaker, the world became a more dangerous place on March 2 when Pakistan's minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, was brutally gunned down in his country's capital. Others in the House have risen to condemn the extremist assassins and our Prime Minister, on behalf of all Canadians, has expressed deep shock and sadness.
It is alarming enough that Minister Bhatti was the only Christian minister in Pakistan's government, but the ruthless ambush and murder is made all the more outrageous because he was killed for standing up for religious freedoms, standing up for those of all faiths in his country where, unlike our own, such freedoms can never be taken for granted.
Too often Pakistan's blasphemy laws are abused to restrict freedom of religion and expression. They have been used disproportionately to target religious minorities. Canada and the international community have called upon Pakistan for this to stop. After last Wednesday, the world is now watching more closely than ever.
Let us be mindful of Shahbaz Bhatti's great legacy. May his example strengthen our own resolve to challenge extremism wherever and whenever we may find it.