Two eye-witnesses to the murder of former federal minister for minority affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti in 2011 have filed a police complaint saying they received death threats from banned terror groups after they appeared in court last month.
Mr. Bhatti who founded the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) was killed in the I- 8 sector of Islamabad in March 2011 when his car was stopped and he shot at by terrorists. He was receiving threats to his
life for his defence of the Christian community and speaking out against the blasphemy law and the death sentence to Aasia Bibi. The killing was attributed to the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan(TTP).
In September 2013, two suspected terrorists Hammad Adil and Umer Abdullah were arrested from the Bhara Kahu area and later charged with the murder of Bhatti. Adil was picked up after a car full of
explosives was found at his house. He later confessed to being involved in Bhatti's killing. Two others involved in the case are at large.
The trial is underway at the Anti Terrorism Court in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi and on January 22, the two eye witnesses were produced in court during the hearing. They saw the two accused, one of whom was
driving the car that day and the other man who was throwing pamphlets on the road after Bhatti was shot.
Over a week after that when one of the eyewitnesses came to office, there was a printed letter threatening the two witnesses and their families with death if they continued to support the government in
this case and give evidence. Two banned terrorist outfits, the Lashkar e Janghvi and the Tehreek e Taliban Punjab were signatories to this letter.
A first information report was filed on the same day and a case under section 506 of the Pakistan Penal Code which relates to punishment for criminal intimidation for threats to life or grievous hurt, was
registered against unknown persons. The eyewitnesses said they have been given some security but they fear for their lives now. They have already skipped one hearing as a result.
Two months before Bhatti was shot dead, then Punjab governor Salman Taseer was gunned down in the capital by his security guard who was convicted and sentenced to death. His sentence is yet to be confirmed by the high court.
Meanwhile, there are reports that Dr. Paul Bhatti, fromer minister and head of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance has left Pakistan to save his life. Dr Bhatti, the brother of Shahbaz received threats to his life and was forced to go abroad.