Pakistan has condemned a cabinet minister's proffer of a murder bounty on the alleged Californian maker of an anti-Islam video. The party of Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour also distanced itself from his call.
The Pakistani government on Sunday dissociated itself from Railway Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, who had offered $100,000 (77,000 euros) to anyone who kills the creator of the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims."
"This is not government policy," Shafqat Jalil, a spokesman for Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, told the AFP news agency. "We completely dissociate from this."
Bilour's secular Awami National Party (ANP), a member of the ruling national coalition, also distanced itself from his incitement.
"It's a personal statement that does not represent party policy," Zahid Khan, a key figure in the ANP, told the German news agency dpa.
"We want laws that guarantee trial of extremists regardless of their religion so that sentiments of the followers of any faith can be safeguarded," Khan said.
Dunya TV quoted Ashraf as saying that his government had no links to Bilour's offer.
Bounty issued in Peshawar
Bilour had announced his bounty to reporters in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Saturday, a day after some 45,000 people participated in nationwide protests against the anti-Islam film. At least 20 people died in the demonstrations and more than 200 others were wounded.
"I announce today that this blasphemer who has abused the holy prophet, if somebody will kill him, I will give that person a prize of $100,000," Bilour said, urging others to shower the killer with cash and gold.
"Innocence of Muslims" was reportedly produced by an Egyptian Coptic Christian, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old convicted fraudster based in Los Angeles, California.
Nakoula has not returned to his LA home since being interviewed by federal authorities early last week. His family has since gone into hiding.
The video portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a violent womanizer. Protests against the 13-minute YouTube video trailer have spread across the Islamic world, leaving more than 50 people dead.
New protests on Sunday gripped Hong Kong, Turkey, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Bangladesh. In Hong Kong, some 3,000 demonstrators, who tried to deliver a letter to the US consulate, briefly scuffled with police, according to AFP.
slk/mz, ipj (AFP, Reuters, dpa)