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October 24, 2021

Pakistan condemns minister’s bounty on film maker

Government distances itself from federal minister who offered USD 100,000 for killing anti-Islam video producer.

The government of Pakistan has condemned a minister for his offer of a reward for the death of the US-based producer believed to be behind an anti-Islam video,  Al Jazeera reports. Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, the federal railways minister offered a USD 100,000 bounty for the death of the California-based maker of the video on Saturday. Bilour also invited members of the Taliban and al-Qaeda to take part in what he called a “noble deed”. The producer of the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is reportedly a 55-year-old Egyptian Copt and convicted fraudster, out on parole, who lives in Los Angeles.The Pakistani PM’s spokesman Shafqat Jalil told the BBC the government “absolutely disassociated” itself from comments by Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour. The film, produced in the US, has led to a wave of protests in the Muslim world and many deaths. The bounty offer came a day after at least 20 died in clashes in Pakistan. Friday’s violence, which saw protesters pitted against armed police, occurred in cities throughout Pakistan, with Karachi and Peshawar among the worst hit.“I will pay whoever kills the makers of this video USD 100,000,” the minister said. “If someone else makes other similar blasphemous material in the future, I will also pay his killers USD 100,000. At one point, he even called for the help of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in killing the filmmaker.  His ANP party, which is part of the governing coalition, told the BBC this was a personal statement, not party policy, but added that it would not be taking any action against him. Mr Jalil said: “He is not a member of the (ruling) PPP (Pakistan People’s Party), he is an ANP politician and therefore the prime minister will speak to the head of the ANP to decide the next step. They are not ruling out action against him but say he will stay in his post for now.”

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