Pak on minister’s bounty offer
Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan said Railway Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour’s announcement of a bounty for the maker of the offensive anti-Islam film “was representative of Mr Bilour’s personal views and had nothing to do with the official policy of the government of Pakistan”.
Bilour’s statement did not represent official policy, Khan said in a brief statement.
The statement did not say whether any action would be taken against Bilour, who had called on Taliban and al-Qaeda to help in the “noble cause” of killing the film’s maker.
The minister, who belongs to the secular Awami National Party, triggered a storm on Saturday by announcing the bounty during a news conference in the northwestern city of Peshawar. He repeated his offer while speaking on a TV news channel and did not change his position despite criticism from other leaders of his own party.
The government has been at pains to distance itself from Bilour’s remarks, which have made the headlines in the US at a time when President Asif Ali Zardari is visiting New York to attend the UN General Assembly session.
Talking to reporters last night, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Bilour’s comments were an “expression of his own personal feelings and the government has nothing to do with it”.
While addressing the media in Peshawar on Saturday, Bilour said: “I announce today that this blasphemer, this sinner who has spoken nonsense about the holy Prophet anyone who murders him, I will reward him with 100,000 dollars.”