Govt distances itself from bounty for filmmaker
24 September, 2012
ISLAMABAD: The government distanced itself on Sunday from a $100,000 bounty offered by Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour for the death of the maker of the anti-Islam film that has sparked protests across the Muslim world.
Bilour invited members of the Taliban and al Qaeda to take part in the "noble deed", and said given the chance he would kill the filmmaker with his own hands.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf rejected Bilour's comments made on Saturday. "This is not government policy. We completely dissociate (ourselves) from this," the spokesman told AFP.
He said Bilour was a leader of the ANP and the PM would talk to party chief Asfandyar Wali in this regard. He did not rule out any action against the railways minister. He was of the view that Bilour's statement was rather personal and he would continue to serve as a minister.
ANP's Zahid Khan told a private TV channel, "We believe in non-violence and have always talked of peace and stability." He added further the declaration of a bounty by Bilour was his personal act and it had nothing to do with the party policy. An explanation would be sought from him about this statement, Khan added.
Meanwhile, fresh rallies were held across Pakistan on Sunday to condemn the movie. In Islamabad, some 200 Christians, led by the PM's Adviser on Minorities Affairs Paul Bhatti, staged a rally condemning the anti-Islam movie. They also condemned the burning of a church in Mardan.
In Lahore, three separate rallies were held by different sects on the road leading to the US consulate, witnesses said. A total of around 2,500 people participated in the protests, police officer Abdul Kadir Qamar said. Peaceful rallies were also held in Multan, Karachi, and Quetta.
ANP to seek explanation from Bilour
Awami National Party (ANP) Senator Zahid Khan said that the declaration of bounty for the anti-Islam filmmaker by Ghulam Ahmad Bilour was his personal act and it had nothing to do with the party policy.
He said an explanation would be sought from Bilour, the railway minister, about this statement.
The minister had on Saturday announced an award of $100,000 for anyone who kills the producer of the profane film.