Islamabad: Slain Pakistani minister Shahbaz Bhatti on Saturday was buried in his hometown after a memorial in a Roman Catholic Church which was attended by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and top politicians. (Agency)
Over 10,000 people including Bhatti’s relatives attended the funeral at Khushpur village – a predominantly Christian village in Faisalabad district.
Prime Minister Gilani was among hundreds of mourners who attended the memorial service.
"I consider this day as a black day. All the minorities have lost a great leader. I assure you, we will try our utmost to bring the culprits to justice," Gilani said while speaking at the service.
"I always remember him (Bhatti). He was an ambassador of Pakistan and he (did a lot) for the rights of minorities, he fought for the rights of minorities," he said.
Apart from Bhatti's family, the memorial service was attended by several federal ministers, parliamentarians, foreign envoys, including the US Ambassador and British High Commissioner, and leading members of the minority Christian community.
Bhatti hailed as martyr
Black flags fluttered on houses and people gathered on roofs as the coffin bearing Bhatti's body was driven to the Fatima Church for the memorial service. A large number of Christians who gathered outside the church offered prayers for Bhatti and condemned his assassination.
The mourners in Khushpur shouted slogans and hailed Bhatti as a martyr demanding punishment for his killers. Several mourners carried large posters of Bhatti while others had banners with slogans like: "Shahbaz Bhatti's blood will lead to revolution."
Many Muslims attended the memorial service and funeral at the village.
Bhatti's body was then flown in a helicopter to his native village of Khushpur, 290 km south of Islamabad.
Bhatti, 42, was assassinated by militants a short distance from his home in Islamabad on Wednesday. The banned Pakistani Taliban had claimed responsibility for the killing, saying he was assassinated for challenging the country’s controversial blasphemy law.
During a debate on Bhatti's assassination in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament, Jamshed Dasti, a lawmaker of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, joined the Opposition in criticising the functioning of Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
Islamabad: Slain Pakistani minister Shahbaz Bhatti on Saturday was buried in his hometown after a memorial in a Roman Catholic Church which was attended by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and top politicians.