In a brief encounter with Pope Francis following his general audience Wednesday, former Pakistani minister Paul Bhatti discussed persecuted Christians and invited the pontiff to visit his country.
“I met him with my mom and it was a desire and a heartfelt wish of my mom to see the Holy Father and to share her views regarding peace in the world and regarding the persecution of Christians in the world,” Bhatti said.
“I translated for her and conveyed this message, and I saw that the Pope was really moved by her statement, and he showed her, and me, that he is with us with his prayers,” and is with “all who are persecuted in the name of religion.”
Bhatti is the former Federal Minister of National Harmony and Minorities Affairs in Pakistan, which is a position he took on after the assassination of his younger brother, Shahbaz Bhatti, who was killed in 2011 by Islamic extremists.
The two had worked closely to assist the most marginalized and oppressed in the country, and strove to promote religious freedom, equality and social justice, particularly fighting violations of those areas within Pakistan.