In a bizarre move, Pakistan's Railway Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour offered a bounty of $100,000 to anyone for the head of anti-Islam film maker, whose film 'Innocence of Muslim' fueled violent protests across the Muslim world. Bilour is a cabinet rank minister in Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf's coalition government.
The Pakistani government was tight-lipped over Bilour's statements, with the prime minister's office distancing itself from the minister's tirade.
Bilour also called upon the internationally banned militant groups, Taliban and Al-Qaeda to support his move and offered to reward them for the deed. Despite the incendiary statements from the minister, some of his close aides chose to play it down indicating that he was only trying to take away the violence from the streets of Pakistan. At least 6 people are believed to have been killed in Peshawar.
Bilour, speaking at a press conference in Peshawar, said the violent protests could only be resolved with the killing of the film maker and also called upon rich citizens to donate money toward the cause. Bilour is considered a leader with secular outlook and is a member of the Awami National Party which governs the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The Pakistani government came in for sharp criticism after declaring a holiday on Friday which allowed the mob to takeover with more violence. The government had declared a holiday after Thursday's violent protests in Islamabad to enable the country's predominantly Muslim population to observe the day as 'Love the Prophet Day' with peaceful demonstrations. Nonetheless, there were violent demonstrations throughout Pakistan, with at least 23 people killed and more than 200 others injured in the port city of Karachi.
Innocence of Muslims, the low-budget film set-off unprecedented fury through Muslim countries around the world. It is not clear who has made the film, but some sources allege the film producer to be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula whose whereabouts are not known.
Protests erupted last week after an Arabic-dubbed trailer of the film was posted on the YouTube. The protests mainly targeted US embassies and consulates as the controversial video was made in the United States. Among those killed in the ensuing violence include the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans. The diplomats were killed in an attack on the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi by an enraged militant mob.
by RTT Staff Writer
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