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Ghulam Ahmed Bilour. - APP/File
Ghulam Ahmed Bilour. - APP/File

Most opposition lawmakers who spoke in the debate in the National Assembly Monday on the Shikarpur incident targeted either perceived terrorist groups and their “apologists” or the government’s alleged weaknesses.

But a senior lawmaker of the opposition Awami National Party (ANP), Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, chose the occasion to stage what appeared to be only a publicity stunt of his own by announcing his readiness to pay a $100,000 bounty he offered in 2012 to the heirs of three militants who made deadly attacks on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris last month.

Mr Bilour had originally announced the bounty in Sept 2012, when he was railways minister in the PPP-led coalition government, for anyone who would kill the maker of a video produced in the United States which included caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) considered blasphemous.

But in his speech in the National Assembly on Monday he said the heirs of the three men killed by French police – two of them who killed 12 people in the attack on the magazine, including the magazine’s editor and some cartoonists – were entitled to receive the bounty after their whereabouts were ascertained by the government of Pakistan.

But he said he would not be content with this and would give $200,000 more as bounty to anyone who would finish off the owner of Charlie Hebdo.

Nobody endorsed, neither did anyone oppose, the first outburst of its kind inside parliament and even Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq made no objection.

According to a statement of assets and liabilities filed with the Election Commission in June last year, the value of Mr Bilour’s moveable and immovable assets stands at Rs39,155,588 (39.15 million) ($387,679). If he has to pay all the three bounties, Mr Bilour will be left with just $87,679.

Profile

Bilour’s association with ANP is longer than that of any of its other active members. Born in 1939, the stalwart, popularly known as Haji Sahab, obtained his education from Khudad Model School, Islamia School Peshawar, and then Edwards College.

He participated in the 1965 election campaign of Fatima Jinnah against Ayub Khan, and joined ANP in the 1970s. Bilour has participated in all the elections since 1988, except for the 2002 polls. His home constituency is in Peshawar and is notorious for being unpredictable. In 1988, he lost the seat to Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao (although he later won it in a by-election when Sherpao vacated it in his bid for chief ministership), won it in 1990 against Benazir Bhutto, lost in 1993 to PPP’s Zafar Ali Shah and won again in 1997. He did not contest in 2002 but once again won from NA-1 (Peshawar – I) in 2008.

Bilour, who comes from a well-known and wealthy business family with longstanding ties with ANP, has also served time in jails on several occasions during his political career.

In 1997, the politician’s only son was killed at a polling station during a by-election, after he had a quarrel with PPP leader and former minister Syed Qammar Abbas. In 2007, when Abbas was killed by unidentified gunmen, four members of the Bilour family, including Ghulam, were nominated in the murder case. They all denied the charge.

In 2008, after being elected from NA-1, Bilour was appointed federal minister for railways. He has faced severe criticism in this regard, as he steered the institution during what many have called its worst ever financial crisis, amidst widespread corruption allegations. The minister was also implicated in the corruption scandal.

In 2011, Bilour was once again at the centre of a controversy after he placed a $100,000 bounty on the head of the producer of an anti-Islam film called “Innocence of Muslims”. He also sought the help of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in his “noble cause”. The minister’s statement received widespread criticism from around the world. The ANP distanced itself from the announcement, although decided not to take any action against him.

Following the bounty announcement, Bilour was removed from the Pakistani Taliban’s hit-list who granted him “complete amnesty”. However, his brother, senior minister and fellow ANP member Bashir Bilour did not get off so easily and was assassinated in an attack in 2012 for which TTP claimed responsibility.

Bilour’s constituency for the 2013 election, once again NA-1, is in the spotlight this time around as well, with the ANP heavyweight running against Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf chief Imran Khan.

The article was compiled from a report by Raja Asghar and a profile of the politician researched and written by Heba Islam.

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Comments (52) Closed



Paggri Sanbhaal Feb 03, 2015 01:50pm

How much income tax does he pay by the way?cheater.

anees zaidvi Feb 03, 2015 02:00pm

Hypocrisy !

Faisal Feb 03, 2015 02:05pm

Same report on this topic, DAWN mixed opinion with news. In news item, terming this as 'publicity stunt' was opinion.

Pravin Feb 03, 2015 02:05pm

And then Pakistan complaints that why world call them "EPICENTER OF GOBAL TERRORISM".

Anwar Feb 03, 2015 02:10pm

No comments but why do they oppose Kalabagh dam ? This dam will solve energy crisis altogether and our thousand acres land will get more water for irrigation and ultimately Pakistani Muslims will not need to be dependent on others ? Minor issues which are hindering the development of kalabagh dam can be resolved by engineers. It is totally technical issue not political but few parties made it political. Charity begins at home :)

MalikSaabSays Feb 03, 2015 02:11pm

A disgrace to the principles the Almighty had laid out in his spoken word (Quran), and even more disrespectful to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) than the ignorant fools abusing freedom-of-expression. My Prophet Muhammad was sent as a mercy for mankind; I hope you "haji saab" learn a thing or two from him rather than use his name for pretty fame.

This should come under terrorism-promoting hate speech - its anyone going to put him on trial? Litmus test.

Sonny Afridi Feb 03, 2015 02:15pm

He's no stranger to publicity stunts. ANP is a worthless party, i dont know why they even exist still. A party of losers only

Sonny Afridi Feb 03, 2015 02:15pm

@Pravin guess what? ANP has no power in Pakistan. PTI had them thrown out.

KHAN Feb 03, 2015 02:21pm

Transport Sector in KP belongs to him, in his time P Railways took dip and his transport business rise. He can actually afford 1 Million Reward

sachin Feb 03, 2015 02:21pm

I Think he should give the bounty money to the soldiers which are killing ttp terrorists.

jj Feb 03, 2015 02:23pm

what about those who killed your brother in a bomb explosion. What a hypocritical country.

Dr Haroon Feb 03, 2015 02:26pm

What an idiot.

Riaz Feb 03, 2015 02:30pm

@anees zaidvi

This is not hypocrisy,Sir. Hypocrisy means you don't practice what you preach. Here he is fulfilling his promise. You may not like it and term it anything but not hypocrisy.

Naxalite Feb 03, 2015 02:32pm

I hope he pays his taxes.

Naxalite Feb 03, 2015 02:32pm

@Paggri Sanbhaal You stole words of my mouth

Manish Feb 03, 2015 02:32pm

Not surprising. What is surprising that this man's only son and brother died violent deaths.

Masood Khan Feb 03, 2015 02:35pm

He may have to take an (intrest-free?) loan of $ 200,000 to make the last payment -- Charlie' owner' head to be chopped off. But will the banks grant him the loan without any guarantees? Perhaps TTP, LeJ, SSP, LeT, JuD, JI, JUI may help Bilour!

noor Feb 03, 2015 02:42pm

plz ask him how much income tax does he pay

ruliran Feb 03, 2015 02:44pm

Please give it to your own country men the TDP/IDP who are suffering daily for the govt and military inaction and the direction country was led into.

Sab Feb 03, 2015 02:47pm

Asfandyar Wali, Afrasiab Khattak, Bushra...please clarify

imran Feb 03, 2015 02:49pm

what ever! does anybody dare to accept his challenge and get wealthy?

Datta Feb 03, 2015 02:49pm

As long as such irresponsible statements are isssued by upholders and makers of laws of a country, Pakistan will never be taken seriously by the global fraternity. Someone in power in Pak should have the courage to stand up to this guy and enounce him.

Asim Iqbal Feb 03, 2015 02:54pm

that is freedom of expression ladies and gentlemen!. this news should reach western countries as well

Harmony Feb 03, 2015 03:02pm

This guy should never be voted to power. Should be tried under 'hate speech'.

Non-believer Feb 03, 2015 03:02pm

Idiots will remain always idiots!

Blister Feb 03, 2015 03:09pm

As you can see ...... this is what happened to ANP. RIP!!

exasperated Feb 03, 2015 03:09pm

HATE SPEECH. why is he not being picked up by the authorities?

Dr Jaffar Hussain Feb 03, 2015 03:11pm

How much did he contributed to the recovery of APS and families from Peshawar carnage?

Iqbal Feb 03, 2015 03:14pm

He should be given to France police for further investigation.

Sadia Feb 03, 2015 03:15pm

SHAME!!! and shame on all those parliamentarians sitting there silently endorsing his invitation to murder.

Feroz Feb 03, 2015 03:15pm

Keep it up, Pakistan will definitely get rid of terrorism by the 25th century.

Pakistani Feb 03, 2015 03:26pm

I am going to make a donation for the victims of terror in France and send a letter of condolence to the French embassy so the French realise not all of us are publicity seeking loonies (like our poiliticians)

I hope the French Government now start tracking Biliour and his familys wealth and assets to help determine whether he is making these offers based on ill gotten wealth.

Baig Feb 03, 2015 03:28pm

This man is so cheap and disgusting,why he cant give some of his looted wealth to poors in his home town ?

Danish Feb 03, 2015 03:29pm

Strange announcement; from a man who is accused of owning cenimas which screens poronographic films.

INDRA Feb 03, 2015 03:36pm

So SAD, all MNA s including speaker kept quiet . Is it way war on terrorism ? SHAME on MNAs

Irfan Baloch Feb 03, 2015 03:37pm

he is member of a left wing Socialist "secular" party much loved by Indians due to the founder being Sarhadi Gandhi. if thats how our Secular party leaders think and act then just imagine the ones that are self proclaimed right wing taliban supporters

Taimur Feb 03, 2015 03:40pm

A good case for FBR.

SHIRJHEEL Feb 03, 2015 03:40pm

Idiot of the highest order, needs to see a psychiatric.

adil jadoon Feb 03, 2015 03:50pm

How about returning all the money he has swindled from the railways. what a despicable man. Should be charged with inciting hatred.

Harmony Feb 03, 2015 03:53pm

@Asim Iqbal - By that logic those silly cartoons are justified too for the sake of "freedom of expression"?

ashraf Feb 03, 2015 04:01pm

Sad to see a party like NAP face such embarrassment in the hands of senior party leader gone senile & lost his marbles. He should be expelled from the parliament & his party to save further embarrassment.. His tax record should also be scrutinized..

Tahreen Feb 03, 2015 04:08pm

In 2011, Bilour was once again at the centre of a controversy after he placed a $100,000 bounty on the head of the producer of an anti-Islam film called “Innocence of Muslims”.

Correction: In 2012*

emjay Feb 03, 2015 06:39pm

Our problem is that we dont have a truly left wing secular party. The country's narrative is heavily right wing. There is no balancing force. Even the so called left and secular parties are essentially right wing.

SMQ Zaman Feb 03, 2015 07:24pm

As the saying goes, "who needs enemies, when you have people like him and more....." as lawmakers within Pakistan; and this news is also in the Foreign Policy - South Asia Daily News email of today!

Manjeet kocchar Feb 03, 2015 07:53pm

What an example by a law maker! May catapult the country into world power

razak Feb 03, 2015 09:39pm

Thank you Mr. Bilour. Many Pakistanis living in Europe and North America will be delighted to hear your bounty announcement, let alone their neighbours.

ARy Feb 03, 2015 11:37pm

He must have made this money while he was the Railway minister buying Chinese junk engines. Who said Pakistan railway is in debt?

Cyrus Ho Feb 04, 2015 01:18am

Any wonder the West wants to destroy Islam?
Europe fought the Franco-Prussian War, World War I and World War II - the next war if there is one will be Europeans against Muslims living in Europe. Why add petrol to the fire? Easy for the rest of us to see why Pakistan has a bad reputation.

Ilyas Feb 04, 2015 04:44am

Does this person realise that the same intolerant mindset is behind the Charlie Hebdo attack as was behind the attack that killed his brother?

Hashim Feb 04, 2015 05:44am

I would like to ask Mr. Bilour if he has spent a single dollar on the IDPs and the affectees of the military operation in NSW. How much tax has he paid in the last few years? How much Zakat has he paid on his savings? If he cannot give a reply, then he should better keep quiet.

However, it would be really nice if the government can actually trace the heirs of the three attackers and ask Mr. Bilour to pay the amount he has promised. I would like to see the look on his face then.

khan Feb 04, 2015 05:07pm

Whats the new law whereby you can arrest someone of hate speech? Perhaps a good show of unbiased application of the law wouldn't hurt at this stage.

Thinking Indian Feb 04, 2015 11:06pm

@Asim Iqbal Civilized world does not allow Freedom of Speech to promote Terrorism & glorify murder. It allows criticism & ridicule.