23 Sep 2012

Filmmaker’s $100,000 bounty call ’emotional outburst’

A $100,000 reward offer for the murder of the maker of a film insulting the Prophet Mohammed was ‘an emotional outburst’, according to the Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK.

It came after Pakistan’s railways minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour invited the Taliban and al Qaeda to help kill the filmmaker behind Innocence of Muslims, which sparked violent protests around the world.

He told reporters in the northwestern city of Peshawar: “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.

“I also invite Taliban and al Qaeda brothers to be partners in this noble deed.

“I also announce that if the government hands this person over to me, my heart says I will finish him with my own hands and then they can hang me.”

However a spokesman for Pakistan’s prime minister said the government “absolutely disassociated” itself from the minister’s statement.

“Why should he be sacked? He didn’t call anyone pleb” – Wajid Shamsul Hasan

Speaking to Channel 4 News, Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan attempted to distance the Pakistani government from the outburst.

He said: “The minister’s comment is a consequence of countrywide protests against the blasphemy act.

“The (Pakistan) prime minister does not subscribe to these views.

“You must understand the gravity of the situation.

“Every Muslim country is on fire at the moment. You are catching one phrase of a minister who’s one of the many ministers we have.

“An individual outburst. You’re interpretating it as the expression of a whole government, a whole nation. “

He also rejected claims the minister in question should be sacked: “Why should he be sacked? He didn’t call anyone pleb,” referring to alleged comments made by Tory Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell.

Unrest leaves 21 dead

Protests against the film left 21 people dead and more than 200 injured across Pakistan on Friday.

More than 5,000 protesters marched towards the parliament in the capital Islamabad, including hundreds of women, chanting “We love our Holy Prophet” and “Punishment for those who humiliated our Prophet”.

In the eastern city of Lahore. about 1,500 people rallied in front of the US consulate chanting: “The US deserves only one remedy – jihad, jihad”.

Hundreds gathered in the southwestern city of Quetta, calling for the makers of the film to be killed while scores in Peshawar, where six people died in Friday’s protests, shouted anti-US slogans.

The low-quality production was made in the US, but a clip, translated into Arabic, has been circulating on the internet.

In it, the Prophet Mohammed is portrayed as a fraud, a womaniser and a child molester.