Federal Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmed Bilour.—Reuters Photo

PESHAWAR: The Pakistani Taliban say they are granting an “amnesty” to a Cabinet minister who is offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who kills the American maker of an anti-Islam film sparking deadly riots in the Muslim world.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told reporters on Wednesday that the minister’s views represent the true spirit of Islam. Consequently, the militants have removed him from their hit list.

“We have totally forgiven him and removed his name from our hit list,” the Taliban spokesman said in a phone call from an unknown location.

Ehsan said that Taliban shoora, a top consultative body, had met on Tuesday and “praised Bilour for his sacrifice for the cause of Islam”.

“The shoora paid rich tributes to Bilour and endorsed his bounty announcement,” he said.

But Ehsan clarified that others in Bilour’s secular party – The Awami National Party (ANP), which opposes the Taliban – won’t enjoy the reprieve.

Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour had announced a $100,000 bounty for the killing of the maker of “Innocence of Muslims” – a film which has sparked deadly protests throughout the Muslim world.  Bilour had also sought the Taliban’s and al Qaeda’s help in the “noble cause” of killing the filmmaker.

Pakistan’s government says Bilour’s bounty doesn’t represent official policy, and his party, the ANP, has also distanced itself from the minister’s comments.

Bilour, however, insisted public opinion was behind him in Pakistan, which has seen widespread protests against the film including nationwide rallies on Friday that ended in bloodshed and looting, with at least 23 people killed.

“I expressed my personal view and faith. I stand by my declaration,” the 72-year-old Bilour had said on Tuesday. “My faith is non-violent, but I cannot forgive and tolerate (this insult),” he said.

Bilour had added that a businessman from Lahore had offered to put up a further $400,000 for the reward and said that freedom of speech should not be used as an excuse to insult Islam.

“Killing is not a good way, but right now it is the only way, because no action has been taken from Western countries (against the filmmaker),” he said.

Washington condemned Bilour’s reward offer as “inflammatory and inappropriate”, while the EU said it deplored it.

Bilour could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Updated Sep 26, 2012 12:02pm

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Comments (36) (Closed)


Gerry D'Cunha
Sep 27, 2012 02:55pm
Ram: you will find only lip service........you have already seen practical on friday 21 Sept.
Israr
Sep 26, 2012 02:06pm
He was always on my hit list for voting in the next elections after his work at Railways and now he is not going off that list very soon.
aditya
Sep 27, 2012 06:21pm
Very Very Nice...what a country man..land full of ostriches
civi varghese
Sep 27, 2012 03:07pm
What is true spirit of islam?
Malone
Sep 26, 2012 04:03pm
How does a railway minister have that kind of money to spare - that is what Pakistanis should be asking.
dhk
Sep 26, 2012 02:55pm
"My faith is non-violent..." wow !!
A J Khan
Sep 26, 2012 02:56pm
Hopefully Talibans will clean all the names from its hit list.
Magda
Sep 26, 2012 01:26pm
Wow!
Khalid
Sep 26, 2012 01:17pm
So, now he is the protector of Islam... Such a shame we have leaders like these who think it is okay to kill people. If he has so much money to spare then he should make better use of that money like help out a charity instead of giving this to the taliban who will use this money to kill innocents. If I had to chose between the film-maker and the taliban. I will side with the film-maker. At least, he did not kill any innocent people.
Zimbo_Indian
Sep 26, 2012 01:44pm
I wish the whole world would come out with a similar statement so that we all can be off the hit list of Islamic terrorists and get on with the more important task of earning our daily bread.
Sue Sturgess
Sep 26, 2012 03:11pm
The huge joke is ... without all of the islamic protest ... almost no-one whould ever had heard of this low grade movie. Because of the fuss,now everyone took time to look!
Muhammad Alvi
Sep 26, 2012 02:36pm
May be, Bilour did it to have his name removed from Taliban's hit list. Taliban have gone too far. Why can't the government of Pakistan finish them? You can't have a government within a government.
Imran B.
Sep 26, 2012 04:21pm
Pathetic !!!!!
Karachi Wala
Sep 26, 2012 04:28pm
Mr. Bilour belongs to the party of Bacha Khan and Wali Khan, who because of their political ideologies and affiliations with the Soviet Union were given titles of liberals, communists and what not. If a bounty is put forward by a person belonging to the same party, no one should be surprised to see what had happened and can happen at the hands of the mobs in the name of Yum-Ihsq -e-Rasool through out Pakistan.
Manoj
Sep 26, 2012 04:51pm
Those Pakistani who do not approve of Mr. Ghulam Ahmad Bilour are traitors of Pakistan and its constitution, what would be the punishment for the maker of the film in Pakistan? what is the law against blaspheme? The state of Pakistan punish whom so ever Insult Islam and its Prophet, that is exactly what Mr Ghulam Ahmad Bilour is trying to do.
kris
Sep 26, 2012 07:39pm
This is scary. Already the taliban is in control.
Khalid Pathan
Sep 26, 2012 10:58pm
Congratulations Mr. Biloure that you have now been exonerated by the Taliban. You are no more on their hit list. This should serve as an example for others who are scared of Taliban for their life.
Yawar
Sep 26, 2012 02:40pm
OK, so now the Taliban wont try to kill him. I suppose the rest of the politicians and other government officials are probably thinking what do I need to do to be removed from the Taliban's target killing list.
JD
Sep 26, 2012 02:40pm
Shoora pays rich tributes to Bilour ANP but is against Imran Khans peace march to Waziristan?? This makes me wonder, who is really pulling their strings!
TruthInTheLight
Sep 27, 2012 12:18am
“I expressed my personal view and faith. I stand by my declaration,” the 72-year-old Bilour had said on Tuesday. “My faith is non-violent, but I cannot forgive and tolerate (this insult),” he said. Then obviously you are not a man of faith, rather an insecure, blind follower.
Sandip
Sep 26, 2012 06:23pm
Lucky man. See its easy, just invest $1M and you are of Taliban's list
Sohaib YAHIA
Sep 27, 2012 02:02am
Mission accomplished!
Hasnain Haque
Sep 26, 2012 05:30pm
So now we know, the minister put up the bounty to protect himself and his vast interests. It is astonishing how low the Pakistani politicians can sink.
Sayyar
Sep 26, 2012 05:43pm
Yeah , blowing up schools killing innocent people is part of their true spirit of Islam.
muhmmad zaheer
Sep 26, 2012 05:49pm
very nice
Ram Krishan Sharma
Sep 26, 2012 06:33pm
" My faith is non- violent , but I can not forgive and tolerate this insult" said Mr. Bilour Is there no forgivenness in the teachings of Islam ?
Razzaq
Sep 26, 2012 06:44pm
That is good,now he can enjoy his life to full.
deepak
Sep 26, 2012 08:29pm
Huh.. Law is not needed in the country.. Everyone is targeting everyone else.. Self proclaimed law makers
Mack
Sep 26, 2012 03:20pm
It seems Pakistn has government of Taliban, not democratically elected government of Zardari. All leaders are doing things that will please Taliban, nothing is done for the welfare of democracy of people.
Monayem Chowdhury
Sep 26, 2012 03:42pm
What else to expect from Taliban.
American
Sep 26, 2012 02:19pm
"My faith is non-violent..but I want to kill anyone who disagrees with my faith" Not a violent faith ?
Humayun
Sep 26, 2012 02:50pm
Now, our nation can forget about mismanagement and delays in railways. Praise be upon Bilour.
saju
Sep 26, 2012 02:50pm
He just escaped, and at least can walk around city
Sayyed Mehdi
Sep 26, 2012 02:12pm
“My faith is non-violent, but I cannot forgive and tolerate (this insult)" Mr. Bilour must have an interesting definition of "non-violent".
Wise
Sep 27, 2012 11:14pm
No
Raj
Sep 26, 2012 03:00pm
This is madness. These are more religious then Prophet Mohmmad himself. What a shame. If you have so much money to waste then spend on betterment of poor Pakistani your Allah will be pleased Mr. minister. How can Government and common public tolerate this kind of bigot.