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.

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
sportReal Madrid 1 Bayern Munich 0: Germans will need their legendary self-belief to rescue Champions League tie in second leg
News
people
Arts & Entertainment
tvReview: The insights of Ricky Gervais's sweet and kind character call to mind Karl Pilkington's faux-naïf podcast observations
Life & Style
techProbably not, this lamp is secretly live-tweeting conversations from a McDonalds
News
Ain't that a kick in the head: a still from Jared Frank's money-spinning video
mediaTrain Kick Selfie Guy is set to scoop up to $250,000 thanks to his viral video
Sport
The redeveloped Anfield will eventually hold 58,800 supporters
footballClub marking return to Champions League elite
Arts & Entertainment
musicPaul Weller says ‘greedy touts’ have wrecked vinyl promotion
Voices
peopleWhat better hero for Britain than Saint George?
Sport
Stephen Hendry has not played a ranking event for two seasons
Stephen Hendry poised for a sensational return to snooker
News
Fresh hope: Ruth Womak and her dog Jess
educationHow one housing association's remarkable initiative gave hope
News
Higher expectations: European economies are growing but the recovery remains weak
newsThe eurozone crisis has tipped many into despair and extremism - this radically altered landscape calls for a new kind of politics, argues economist Philippe Legrain
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Construction Solicitor – Surrey

Excellent Salary Package: Austen Lloyd: This is a rare high level opportunity ...

Construction Solicitor NQ+ Manchester

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: This is an excellent opportunity within...

Corporate Finance

£80000 - £120000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: US QUALI...

Banking / Finance Associate - City

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: Banking / Finance Associate - We have an exce...

Day In a Page

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
Why musicians play into their old age

Why musicians play into their old age

Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
How can you tell a gentleman?

How can you tell a gentleman?

A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Celebrate St George’s Day with a nice cup of tea. Now you just need to get the water boiled
Through the screen: British Pathé opens its archives

Through the screen

British Pathé opens its archives
The man behind the papier mâché mask

Frank Sidebottom

The man behind the papier mâché mask
Chris Marker: Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Chris Marker retrospective is a revelation
Boston runs again: Thousands take to the streets for marathon as city honours dead and injured of last year's bombing

Boston runs again

Thousands of runners take to the streets as city honours dead of last year
40 years of fostering and still holding the babies (and with no plans to retire)

40 years of fostering and holding the babies

In their seventies and still working as specialist foster parents
Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?