Toronto Honors Shahbaz Bhatti’s Legacy with a Memorial Dinner

Toronto- March 14, 2024: The International Christian Voice (ICV) held a poignant Shahbaz Bhatti Memorial Dinner on March 8, 2024, to honour the 13th anniversary of the martyrdom of Shahbaz Bhatti, a significant figure in Pakistan's political history and a vocal advocate for minority rights. This event in Toronto attracted over four hundred and fifty attendees from diverse faith communities, highlighting Bhatti's widespread impact and the continued relevance of his work in promoting interfaith harmony and minority rights.

Shahbaz Bhatti, who served as the Pakistani Minister for Minorities Affairs from 2008 until his assassination in 2011, was remembered for his dedication to protecting the rights of minorities in Pakistan. He is widely regarded as a martyr for his unwavering stance against discrimination and for his efforts to bring about change through peaceful and democratic means.

The memorial event featured a range of activities to pay homage to Bhatti's life and legacy. The evening commenced with a solemn prayer, followed by the national anthem. A special video tribute titled "Remembering Shahbaz" was showcased, providing insights into Bhatti's life and the profound impact of his work. Jason Kenney, the former Canadian Minister for Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, and a friend of Bhatti, featured in the video, offering rich tributes to Bhatti's courage and dedication.

Several dignitaries and notable figures from the political and social spheres participated in the event, delivering speeches that reflected on Bhatti's contributions and the ongoing importance of his mission. Among the speakers were Hon. Robert Oliphant, Parliamentary Secretary of Foreign Affairs; Hon. Ruby Sahota, M.P. Brampton North; Hon. Shuvaloy Majumdar, M.P. for Calgary Heritage; and Hon. Patrick Brown, Mayor of Brampton.

David Bhatti, Shahbaz Bhatti's nephew, emerged as the keynote speaker. An aspiring politician himself, David Bhatti's speech highlighted the profound influence of his uncle's legacy on his own life and aspirations. His address served as a call to action for younger generations to continue the work initiated by Shahbaz Bhatti.

The event was efficiently steered by Dr. Colin Saldanha, who served as the Master of Ceremonies, ensuring a seamless flow of the program. Peter Bhatti, Chairman of ICV and the elder brother of Shahbaz Bhatti, concluded the evening with a vote of thanks to the speakers, attendees, supporters, and participating guests. He reaffirmed ICV's commitment to supporting persecuted religious minorities and assisting them in resettling in Canada.

This event not only commemorated Shahbaz Bhatti's martyrdom but also served as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for minority rights globally. It highlighted the need for continued advocacy and action to ensure the safety, rights, and dignity of minority communities worldwide.