Pope follows tensions in Pakistan and Libya with "apprehension"
Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday expressed concern about the ongoing unrest in Libya and also referred to last week's assassination of Pakistan's only Christian minister Shahbaz Bhatti, whose death the pontiff described as a "moving sacrifice", dpa reported.
"I'm continuously following with great apprehension the tensions that are being registered in these days in several African and Asian countries," Benedict told tens of thousands of faithful gathered on St Peter's Square for his noon Angelus prayer.
"I ask the Lord Jesus that the moving sacrifice of the life of the Pakistani Minister Shabaz Bhatti will wake in the conscience, the courage and the commitment to protect freedom of religion for all mankind and in this way also promote equal dignity for all," the pontiff said.
Bhatti was a critic of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, under which a person can be sentenced to death for uttering derogatory remarks against the Muslim prophet Mohammed or the Koran.
He was gunned down on March 2.
Benedict also said that his "heartfelt thoughts" went to Libya "where the recent clashes have provoked numerous deaths and a growing humanitarian crisis."
"I assure my closeness and prayers to to all the victims and to those who find themselves in anxious situations. I also invoke assistance for people who are suffering," Benedict said.