Govt distances itslef from Bilour’s bounty

The government on Sunday distanced itself from a $100,000 bounty offered by a cabinet minister for the death of the maker of an anti-Islam film that has sparked protests across the Muslim world. Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour on Saturday invited members of the Taliban and al Qaeda to take part in the “noble deed”, and said given the chance, he would kill the film-maker with his own hands. A spokesman for Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, rejected Bilour’s comments, made on Saturday, a day after angry protests across Pakistan against the “Innocence of Muslims” left 21 people dead and more than 200 injured. “This is not government policy. We completely dissociate (ourselves) from this,” Shafqat Jalil told AFP. The spokesman said Bilour was a leader of the Awami National Party (ANP) and the prime minister had contacted the party’s chief Asfandyar Wali Khan. The spokesman did not rule out action against the minister, but said he would continue working as usual for the time being. Meanwhile, ANP spokesman Zahid Khan said the party believed in non-violence and had always talked of peace and stability. He said the declaration of award by Bilour was his personal act and had nothing to do with the party policy. An explanation would be sought from him about this statement, he added.