Islamabad, Sept. 24 (AP): The Pakistani government today distanced itself from an offer by one of its cabinet ministers to pay $100,000 for anyone who kills the maker of an anti-Islam film, saying the offer does not represent official government policy.
The offer by railways minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour has drawn criticism in Pakistan even though anger against the film runs high in this predominantly Muslim country.
Bilour said on Saturday that he would pay the reward money out of his own pocket. He also appealed to al Qaida and Taliban militants to contribute to “a noble cause” of eliminating the filmmaker.
The Pakistan foreign ministry said in a statement today that the bounty put on the filmmaker’s head reflected Bilour’s personal view and was not Pakistan’s official policy.
The minister belongs to the secular Awami National Party, an ally in the government of President Asif Ali Zardari. The ANP is also the ruling party in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Bilour's comments also struck a nerve within his own party.