For Immediate Release
Johan Candelin, WEA Religious Liberty Commission, + 358 40 5147611
Marion Uzac, Press Secretary, E-mail: [email protected]
Sylvia Soon, Chief of Staff. E-mail: [email protected]
Pakistani opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated in a suicide bomb attack earlier on Thursday, December 27, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
The attack took place during a political rally ahead of the general election on January 9. Around 20 people are believed to have died in the attack. According to police, a suicide bomber fired shots at Bhutto, 54, as she was leaving the rally venue in a park.
The Executive Director of World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Religious Liberty Commission the Rev. Johan Candelin spoke of this tragedy on behalf of WEA from Finland.
“The murder of former Prime Minister is one of the most tragic events in the history of Pakistan,” said the Rev. Candelin. “After working together with Mrs. Bhutto for democracy for several years I can say that her importance for democracy and human rights in Pakistan can never be underestimated.”
Having had a Catholic nun called Anna as a home teacher in Pakistan; Bhutto had great respect also for the Christian faith and protected all religious minorities, according to the Rev. Candelin.
“She told me several times that she wanted to work for Pakistan where a Jew could go to the synagogue, a Christian to the church and a Muslim to the mosque - all without any fear,” he said. “She was fully aware of the risk she took when she went back to Pakistan, but said that democracy is worth risking one’s life for.”
He added, “In the history of Pakistan she will have a very important place beside her late father who also was killed for his work for democracy. Benazir Bhutto was a warm, intelligent and wonderful person. She was the first woman Prime Minister in a Muslim nation. The World Evangelical Alliance wishes to express our deepest condolences to the husband and two children of Mrs. Bhutto and to the whole nation of Pakistan.”
World Evangelical Alliance (WEA): World Evangelical Alliance is made up of 128 national evangelical alliances located in 7 regions and 104 associate member organizations. The vision of WEA is to extend the Kingdom of God by making disciples of all nations and by Christ-centered transformation within society. WEA exists to foster Christian unity, to provide an identity, voice and platform for the 420 million evangelical Christians worldwide.