A Pakistani minister at the centre of a controversy for offering a reward to anyone who kills the maker of an anti-Islam film has said he will put a bounty on the head of any person who commits blasphemy in future.
Railway Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour said, he stood by his offer of a bounty of USD 100,000 for the murder of the maker of ‘Innocence of Muslims’
Addressing a meeting at the Muhabbat Khan mosque in Peshawar yesterday, he said he would not be deterred by criticism of action by Western nations.
The Pakistan government has distanced itself from the minister’s action, saying it does not reflect official policy.
Other parties in Pakistan’s ruling coalition have demanded that Mr Bilour should withdraw the bounty and the US and the European Union have condemned the move.
Conservative MPs in Britain have asked authorities to bar Mr Bilour from the country.
Mr Bilour said the Prime Minister had not sought his resignation and the ANP had not issued him any show cause notice over the bounty.
He said: “I don’t care for a ban on my entry to any country, including Britain, over the bounty issue”.
He said he did not want a confrontation with any religion or country but said it was unfair for the West to defend the blasphemous movie under the “freedom of expression“.
If the US and Britain frame laws against blasphemy, it will save the world from terrorism, he claimed.
After Mr Bilour offered the bounty, the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan lauded his act and said militants had decided to remove his name from their “hit list”.
Bilour was given a warm welcome at the historic mosque and men showered rose petals on him.
They shouted slogans in his support.
The Aalmi Khatm-e-Naboowat Movement announced it would honour Bilour for offering the bounty offer by presenting him with a medal.
Keywords: Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, pakistan railway minister, Innocence of Muslims, blasphemy, freedom of expression, Awami National Party, bounty offer, anti-Islam film, Pakistan People’s Party, anti-film protest