Dr. Paul Jacob Bhatti is a Pakistani politician. He is the former federal Minister of National Harmony and Minorities Affairs. He served as Minister under the government of President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari.
He received an MBBS from the University of Padua in Italy in 1984. From 1989 to 1990, he attended the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium. He received an FRCS from the University of Padua in 1990 and a Masters in Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery from the same university in 2006.
He worked as surgeon in various hospitals of Italy, Pakistan, Belgium, United Kingdom and France from 1991 to 2011.
Dr. Paul Bhatti worked closely with his late younger brother Shahbaz Bhatti to uplift the marginalised and oppressed sectors of his country. He is committed to promote religious freedom, human equality and social justice. He was the main advisor and financial supporter to Shahbaz Bhatti with his fight against all types of injustices in Pakistan.
After the assassination of his brother Shahbaz Dr. Bhatti was elected Chairman of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, a movement founded by his late brother Shahbaz Bhatti. He established a welfare organisation Shahbaz Bhatti Memorial Trust (SBMT) to continued the vision and the mission of his late brother Shahbaz who he was assassinated on 2 March 2011. The SBMT was officially inaugurated by the President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, on 11 August 2011 at Awar e Sadar in Islamabad.
During his position of Minister he has visited several religious institutions, for example churches, mosques, temples, gurdwaras, etc., to motivate religious scholars to promote interfaith harmony. It was particularly during his visit, on April 2012, to the Holy Redeemer Cathedral of Multan that the Minister for National Harmony, Dr. Paul Bhatti, lauded the Cathedral as a symbol of interfaith, peace and friendship among many people. He voiced a strong message of religious harmony in area were religious intolerances are very frequent.
He was involved to protected Rimsha Masih blasphemy case, a girl who was false accused of blasphemy by an imam named Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti, (the imam of the mosque in Rimsha's area), who later was detained himself on 1 September 2012, for desecrating the Quran himself and tampering with evidence.
Dr. Bhatti's main focus is on political, social and economical stability in his own country thus bringing about a peaceful society, where people from diverse faiths can live together without fear. To achieve these objectives, he is working on the following:
- Promotion of inter-religious dialogue and relationship among people of diverse faiths.
- Promotion of education, especially the quality of education with the hope to eliminate all curriculum which is the cause of hate, discrimination and division in Pakistan among the majority and minority groups.
- Economical empowerment of women and marginalised sectors of the community.
- Equal and elected representation of Religious Minorities in all political forums of the country.
- Community development.
- Legal assistance and protection of innocent victims of hate crimes.
Within these areas of focus, Dr. Bhatti affected the following:
- Hosted and participated as a keynote speaker in several conferences both nationally and internationally, on religious freedom mainly in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, United States of America. He believes that peace and the elimination of terrorism is the key objective to further the work of protecting religious minorities from acts of violence and providing equal rights in society.
- Awarded over 4000 scholarships to needy and talented students of all levels of education, studying at national and international institutions.
- Repaired, renovated and newly constructed schools and religious institutions.
- Established drinking water and irrigation projects for needy and disadvantaged communities.
- Provided legal support and protection for innocent victims of hate crimes.
- Established a justice and advocacy network.
- Proposed to the Government of Pakistan for the increase of the number of seats for religious minorities in all political forums of the country.
- Proposed the right of a dual voting system to the Government of Pakistan ensuring Religious Minorities that their representatives in the Provincial and Federal Parliament are elected.
Dr Paul Bhatti continues his struggle as Chairman of All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) and Shahbaz Bhatti Memorial Trust (SBMT). Further, he requests that the international community may support his struggle to bring peace in Pakistan specifically in establishing a justice and advocacy network and to uplift marginalised sectors of society through inter-religious dialogue and relationship, education and economic empowerment.
On 22 October 2013 Dr. Paul Bhatti with Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan Greg Giokas inaugurated a new solar-powered irrigation plant-irrigation in the village of Khushpur in Punjab.
On 2 July 2014 Dr. Bhatti participated as keynote speaker at the event organised on the occasion of The United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and To mark the beginning of the Italian Presidency of the European Union.
- CIA World Leaders Archived 6 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
- "SBMT :: Shahbaz Bhatti Memorial Trust :: Dr. Paul Bhatti's Profile".
- UNIPD. "Un ministro cristiano nell'Islam, la scommessa democratica di Paul Bhatti".
- "Cathedral Church reflecting interfaith harmony: Dr Paul".
- "Imam in Rimsha Masih blasphemy case released". 12 October 2012.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
- Government of Canada, Foreign Affairs Trade and Development Canada. "Canada Funds a Solar-Powered Irrigation Plant in Pakistan".
- "Best Practices and Challenges in Implementing a Moratorium on the Death Penalty".