The No. 1 person on the Taliban’s Pakistan hit list, Shahbaz Bhatti, the federal minister of minorities affairs, was gunned down Wednesday around 11 a.m. (local time).
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the assassination of the long-time minorities activist.
Bhatti, 42, was leaving his home in the morning when an unknown gunman bombarded his vehicle with bullets in broad daylight. He was dead when he arrived at Shifa Hospital in Islamabad. Bhatti is usually accompanied by security guards, but he had told them Wednesday not to travel with him.
“Assassination of Bhatti is a message to all of those who are against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws,” said Ihsanullah Ihsan, a Taliban spokesman, according to CNN.
Bhatti angered extremists by demanding a review of the controversial blasphemy law in light of the case of Asia Bibi – the first woman to be sentenced to death under the blasphemy law.
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