On Saturday, Pakistan’s Federal Railway Minister made headlines around the world by offering a $100,000 bounty for the killing of the maker of “The Innocence of the Muslims” after riots related to the film resulted in 21 deaths in Pakistan on Friday:
Federal Railway Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour announced that $100,000 will be awarded to the person who kills the maker of the anti-Islam blasphemous film “Innocence of Muslims”.
Speaking to the media on Saturday, Bilour said that there was no other way to lodge a protest and instill fear among the blasphemers other than murder of the filmmaker. “I request all the rich people to bring out all their money so that the killer can be loaded with dollars and gold.”
The minister admitted of knowing that he was committing a crime by instigating people for murder, but said that he was ready to be a criminal for this cause. “If there is a case lodged against me in the international court or in this country’s court, I will ask people to hand me over to them… I want to show these countries that we will not tolerate any such things.”
On Sunday, Pakistan’s government and Bilour’s political party distanced themselves from Bilour’s action:
Announcing a $100,000 bounty on Saturday, Bilour had invited members of the Taliban and al Qaeda to take part in the “noble deed”, and said given the chance he would kill the film-maker with his own hands.
The government has “nothing to do with the statement made by the railways minister,” Shafqat Jalil, a spokesperson for Premier Raja Pervaiz Ashraf told The Express Tribune. “This is not the government’s policy. We disassociate (ourselves) from this.”
The next bit from Jalil is a bit lacking in credibility:
Jalil added that even though the incumbent government respects its coalition partners, it could not endorse statements that may ignite the already provoked sentiments of Pakistanis.
I guess that declaring Friday as a national holiday so that everyone could take part in demonstrations against the film was really not expected to “ignite the already provoked sentiments of Pakistanis”? I can’t buy that one.
We learn in the same article that Bilour’s political party, the Awami National Party distanced itself somewhat, saying Bilour’s comments were his own views, but would not state whether Bilour might face disciplinary action from the party.