Pakistan condemns minister's $100,000 Mohamed film bounty

Islamabad distances itself from reward for anyone who kills the makers of video

Pakistani authorities were yesterday trying to distance themselves from comments by a minister who has offered a $100,000 (£62,000) bounty for anyone who kills the maker of the anti-Islamic film that has triggered outrage across the Muslim world.

A day after last Friday's government-organised "peace protests" that left 21 people dead and more than 200 injured, the country's Railways Minister, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, invited members of the Taliban and al-Qa'ida to take part in what he said would be a "noble deed". Given the chance, he added, he himself would kill the man behind the controversial film.

The latest country to see protests against the film was Bangladesh, where thousands of activists on Saturday clashed with police who used batons and tear gas to clear an unauthorised demonstration. There were further, smaller protests in the Muslim-majority nation yesterday after a national strike was called – this time to protest about the police treatment doled out to those who had demonstrated on Saturday.

In Pakistan, the government, which had announced that Friday would be a national holiday in order to allow people to hold peaceful protests against the film, Innocence of Muslims, said that the minister's comments did not represent official policy. The minister is a member of the Awami National Party, which is a member of the ruling coalition, but not the Pakistan People's Party of President Asif Ali Zardari.

"This is not government policy. We completely dissociate [ourselves] from this," Shafqat Jalil, a spokesman for Prime Minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, told the Agence France-Presse.

On Saturday evening, the minister had told a press conference that he wanted the film-maker, 55-year-old California man, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, to be killed. "I announce today that this blasphemer, this sinner who has spoken nonsense about the holy Prophet, anyone who murders him, I will reward him with $100,000," he said.

Mr Nakoula's film has sparked protests around the world and he has not returned to his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Cerritos since leaving voluntarily to be interviewed by US federal authorities. His family has since gone into hiding.

Saturday's clash in Bangladesh erupted after protesters from a coalition of 12 Islamist parties tried to hold a rally in Dhaka, the capital, despite a 24-hour ban on gatherings in the area, according to the police. Reports said that hundreds of protesters attacked policemen, set fire to a motorcycle and damaged a police van.

The spokesman for Pakistan's Prime Minister said there would be discussion about the Railways Minister's comments but that for now he remained in his position. "The minister is playing cold, cynical politics. His announcement of a bounty is not too implementable but he will capture the right-wing vote," Raza Rumi, a commentator and a director of the Jinnah Institute in Islamabad, said.

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

Arts and Entertainment
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Travel
travel
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

English Teacher- Manchester

£19200 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes