The day after his murder, I wrote an article in which I described him as “Pakistan’s Martin Luther King,” and I still believe that. Yet in my mind, he is not so much on a pedestal as alongside me as a companion. A cause for his canonization has been started and he should be recognized as a saint, but for me, he was my friend — and a constant awakener of my conscience.
Whenever I am in Rome, without fail I make it a priority to go to the Basilica di San Bartolomeo all’Isola, where Shahbaz’s personal Bible is on display in commemoration of modern-day martyrs. I try always to go to spend a few moments in front of his Bible, to say a prayer, light a candle and rededicate my life to the cause for which my friend gave his: the cause of human freedom, human rights and human life.