Bilour under fire for his bounty offer

Published: September 24, 2012
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Bilour said given the chance he would kill the film-maker with his own hands. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

Bilour said given the chance he would kill the film-maker with his own hands. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: A day after he placed a bounty on the head of an American film-maker for his anti-Islam movie, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, the minister for railways, came under fire from both the federal government and his own party.

Announcing a $100,000 bounty on Saturday, Bilour had invited members of the Taliban and al Qaeda to take part in the “noble deed”, and said given the chance he would kill the film-maker with his own hands.

The government has “nothing to do with the statement made by the railways minister,” Shafqat Jalil, a spokesperson for Premier Raja Pervaiz Ashraf told The Express Tribune. “This is not the government’s policy. We disassociate (ourselves) from this.”

Jalil added that even though the incumbent government respects its coalition partners, it could not endorse statements that may ignite the already provoked sentiments of Pakistanis.

Asked whether the railways minister would face any disciplinary action, Jalil said the prime minister would discuss the matter with Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan.

“Bilour will continue looking after his ministry till further orders or action by the premier,” Jalil added.  The ANP, to which Bilour belongs, also disowned his comments as his “personal views”.

“The party policy is to raise the issue of anti-Islam film at international forums such as the United Nations and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation for a global law against sacrilege,” said ANP Senator Zahid Khan. However, he would not say if Bilour would face any disciplinary action.

Another ANP lawmaker, Bushra Gohar, went a step ahead and called Bilour’s bounty announcement as a “criminal act”.

In an interview with the BBC, she said the prime minister should seek an explanation from Bilour. ANP Senator Haji Adeel expressed similar views, saying Bilour’s remarks did not reflect the party policy.

Retract statement or resign: MQM

Meanwhile, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) condemned Bilour for announcing the bounty, saying such a reward would only isolate and embarrass Pakistan internationally.

Such extremist views are not acceptable to liberal and moderate Pakistanis, the MQM coordination committee said in a statement. Bilour should either retract his bigoted statement and apologise to the nation or resign from his ministry, it added.

Analyst and author Hasan Askari said Bilour was trying to keep ahead of public opinion in his home province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa where anti-Western feelings run high.

“There is a common phenomenon of point scoring in Pakistan politics and Bilour wanted to show that ‘we are not lagging behind any other group,’” Askari said.

More than 50 people have died in protests and attacks around the world linked to the low-budget film, since the first demonstrations on September 11.

(With additional input from AFP)

Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2012.

 

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Reader Comments (40)

  • R2D2
    Sep 24, 2012 - 3:26AM

    any responsible party would have fired him immediately and charged with incitement for violence.

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  • Shothimselfinfoot
    Sep 24, 2012 - 3:44AM

    I am outraged by the AntiIslam film as well but I protest differently. I pray Allah show these non believers the right path. I’m not interested in burning cinema houses or killing anyone.

    This man Bilour, also railways minister, has singlehandedly bankrupted Pakistan railways so that the Pathan truck drivers have no competition from a more efficient form of goods transportation.

    We don’t need corrupt and mindless Ministers to represent us Pakistanis. I still cannot believe he invited Taliban And Al Qaeda to help. They have ruined his province (ANP stronghold) KPK. ANP leadership should be embarrassed.

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  • Sep 24, 2012 - 4:12AM

    No matter what he is.

    I support him for his statement.

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  • H.A. Khan
    Sep 24, 2012 - 4:16AM

    Fire him.
    He has caused shame to the nation by his words.Is he living in 21st century or 15th century.

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  • Shahid Butt
    Sep 24, 2012 - 4:43AM

    Disassociation is not enough. He must resign. He should be prosecuted for INCITEMENT.He should be made to pay part of the RS 70 billion which country lost during the protest. Govt should freeze his accounts and his property. Bring him down to EARTH.

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  • 3akr
    Sep 24, 2012 - 4:49AM

    well i object the writing and the author should condemn the act being muslim that this film is blasphemous and outrageous film. she has to replace the words ” low-budget film” with “blasphemous film “. otherwise you people have to face the severe consequences next time there will be no warning.

    If America can put a bounty on person without any evidence, like on Hafiz Saeed or anyone one else ,then why not Mr blour. why dont west take it as freedom of expresion as well.

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  • Ijaz Mir
    Sep 24, 2012 - 5:15AM

    this railway minster is a part of PPP government. than why prime minister is not with him.
    Who is running government of Pakistan. no one knows who to support . PPP has ruined this country . How to get rid of Zerdari and company and save Pakistan

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  • Sep 24, 2012 - 5:54AM

    Why? He made a offer no one can refuse?

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  • roadkashehzada
    Sep 24, 2012 - 7:31AM

    but bilour also said that if there is a better alternative tell me and lets do that (as per BBC). so any better alternative guys??

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  • Sep 24, 2012 - 7:58AM

    With the pressure exerted upon him by the coalition members Bilour will prefer to resign.
    But since he has incited the community for violence he should be charged for it and also for hate speech.
    Besides, he should stand disqualified for participating in public election. Persons with this mindset must not be eligible to be a law maker.

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  • Sep 24, 2012 - 8:05AM

    @3akr:
    west does not have any problem if you offer any bounty but Muslims are confirming the image of riotous, intolerant,non visionary and illogical people who are willing for self destruction and obviously will receive the treatment all over the world as per their image. go ahead .

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  • Arindom
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:17AM

    A sitting Minister of the Government calling Al Qaeda and Taliban “brothers” !

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  • Usman
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:29AM

    @H.A. Khan:
    Don’t worry, at least our railways are in safe hands(sarcasm). He is the same guy who said: “who needs railways, they are from the last century”. Good to know his Kohistan bus service has profited from the demise of railways, not to mention added misery to the common man, and lack of transport facility for the Pakistan Army in case of enemy occupation of land.

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  • Christian
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:29AM

    @H.A. Khan:
    neither, he is in 7th century darkness

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  • Tony Singh
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:38AM

    @roadkashehzada:
    Many alternatives
    1. ignore the movie. Don’t watch it. Indifference is the ultimate insult.
    2. Ban internet in Pakistan
    3. Stop electricity. No electricity. no net.
    4. Build economy. If all the above is not possible then follow 5.
    5. Bomb yourself to stone age. Pakistan is adept at it. The way the things stand, another movie and Pakistan would nuke itself.

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  • rashid
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:46AM

    has he got enough strength to kill some one with his own hands?

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  • Imran Ahsan Mirza
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:50AM

    There is no sanity in Pakistan. The film maker is a pornography Director with all cast drawn from the same ‘industry’. Sane Muslims could have condemned this by highlighting the greatness of our beloved Holy Prophet Muhammad(SAW) through his good deeds as an example for the world. Rather Muslim clergy incited further hatred in the community and let them burn churches and abuse other religions. They killed and burntt their own national propoerties and assets in the course of last few days wrongly in the name of love of Prophet. The Holy Quran forbades such atrocious behaviour against non-Muslims. Pakistan and other Muslim countries should exert influence on US and European countries to stop hate speech through diplomacy rather mob rule displaying complete anarchist behaviour. Bilour must resign and sit at home for such incitemets clearly against the teachings of Islam. You cannot practice ‘love of Islam’ by workingagainst its great teachings.

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  • peace for all
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:53AM

    I am stand with him on his statements despite I dislike him due to bad governance in RailwayRecommend

  • KnoWhat!
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:54AM

    My fear is this J… A…. political minister may have just started a tradition of more local target-death-threats than overseas. We must also remember everytime an extremist like him place a threat against foreign person or power, in the end it’s only the locals who pay the price in thousands with their life, property, jobs, freedom & peace-of-mind. Highest price sadly will be paid by his own constituents if they understand. As long as he has the office of ANP, all political office bearers within a thousand mile are guilty-by-association. I wonder why he wanted to be a religious spiritual leader too?

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  • Dr Ali Huesien
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:56AM

    He should be forced to resign.As it is he has ruined Railway

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  • Pakistani
    Sep 24, 2012 - 9:46AM

    There is no other way to bring such great criminals to justice, Bilour has done what every muslim should do in such a situation.

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  • pervaiz memon
    Sep 24, 2012 - 10:23AM

    Oh come on men it is freedom of speech . Bilour have right what he like as they have right to …………….

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  • Subiha
    Sep 24, 2012 - 11:00AM

    No matter who he is and what he has done in the past…

    But i support him for his statement!Recommend

  • R2D2
    Sep 24, 2012 - 11:26AM

    @Rana Usman: barbarian likes barbarians?

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  • Salma
    Sep 24, 2012 - 11:37AM

    this is wrong of Mr. Bilour but look at the double standards of media and the educated elite – who never condemn the USA for laying bounties which is the most uncivilized act –

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  • John
    Sep 24, 2012 - 11:51AM

    He won’t resign!

    How many futile calls have been made on account of his mishandling of Pak Railways?

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  • Rizwan Ali
    Sep 24, 2012 - 12:04PM

    Love You Bilour………Though you’ve ruined Railway yet I support you for your encouraging & brave statement…….
    For all the readers who’ve charged Bilour for incitement for violence I must say ” Freedom of Speech”Recommend

  • No hope
    Sep 24, 2012 - 12:12PM

    Friday was declared a public holiday to demonstrate Ishq e Rasool. In reality it was a step to appease the intolerant, self righteous champions of the religious right. Anybody who is surprised by the events of the day is living in self delusion. We are surely sleep-walking to our destiny. I see substantial similarity in this government’s declaration of Friday as Ishq e Rasool Day and the declaration of Ahmedis as non Muslims by ZAB. The act of desperation didn’t save ZAB, nor will the Ishq Day save this government. Now we are at a stage where everyone is trying to climb on to a higher seat on the Ishq band-wagon. We have a cabinet minister inciting for murder, seeking assistance from those who have publicly claimed responsibility for killing thousands of innocent men, women and children, and offering reward. The mind boggles. Who needs any external enemies when we have such Aashiqs amongst us?Recommend

  • Popularist
    Sep 24, 2012 - 12:20PM

    This idiot seriously need t be admitted to a rehabilitation center for his non stop nonsense over the past five years! Ask him how many parts The Quran has-I bet he’ll be found wanting and here he goes offering bounties to further stir up the already Mad mob! God give us relief from such psychopaths! Recommend

  • Rizwan Ali
    Sep 24, 2012 - 12:22PM

    Love You Bilour………Though you’ve ruined Railway yet I support you for your encouraging & brave statement…….
    For all the readers who’ve charged Bilour for incitement for violence I must say ” Freedom of Speech

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  • arcane
    Sep 24, 2012 - 12:41PM

    Under Fire??? He is still Federal Minister.

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  • UHS
    Sep 24, 2012 - 1:13PM

    Mr. Bilour remained silent for months on this issues. Right after his cinemas are burnt in KPK, he offered this bounty. Wow, talk about the timing !

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  • No hope
    Sep 24, 2012 - 1:24PM

    @Rizwan Ali:

    Freedom of Speech . . . leading to self destruction. How noble and wise!Recommend

  • Rizwan Ali
    Sep 24, 2012 - 2:15PM

    @No hope:

    Excuse me my dear brother!!! Just read the above comments, then you’ll find my reply justifiable. When they (US) say something like this they (US) call this Freedom of Speech, but when we say it they termed it as incitement for violence…..
    Wake up @No Hope

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  • Adnan
    Sep 24, 2012 - 5:21PM

    This man is unfit to hold public office. He should be disqualifed. Let’s see if either the EC or the CJ has the courage to do anything about this!

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  • Shahid Butt
    Sep 24, 2012 - 5:36PM

    @Subiha:
    That is fine with me if you want to support his position. I just want to make sure that he paid taxes on this $100000 which he is planning to give Talk is cheap. did he put this money in ESCROW account. I would like to know what is your position on taxes. No country can run with out taxes. Pakistan has at this time 65 billion loan on its head. 25 billion came in the last 5yrs.rich people should be made example for getting TAXES. That is the way it is done in USA. We should learn good things from the western world or from any place, it does not matter.

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  • Imran Con
    Sep 24, 2012 - 7:03PM

    All these freedom of speech comparisons are insensibility. If I offered a bounty, while living in the US, it would be equated to putting a hit out on someone and I’d be charged with attempted murder among other things. There’s a whole process it has to go through before it’s considered valid. Also the US government officials don’t set bounties on a whim. It’s not even a solely in-country process. The process even involves international steps for it in some cases. If a politician in the US did the same thing he did, regardless of motive, they would be not only fired or forced to resign, they’d be arrested.
    If you think it falls under freedom of speech, somehow you just don’t have the mental capacity to even understand what it is even though it has been repeatedly explained lately. But, in the end, it really doesn’t matter if you understand. It won’t change the backfiring. Most legal systems don’t consider ignorance a valid excuse.Recommend

  • Pir Bulle Shah
    Sep 24, 2012 - 7:24PM

    People opposing such a lover of the Prophet (PBUH) are scared of what unbelievers will do to them. SHAME ON SUCH MUSLIMS!

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  • Shahid Butt
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:05PM

    @Imran Con:
    I live in USA too and understand the procedure what you described very well. In my judgement he should be arrested, prosecuted and sent to jail for rest of his life. but i know it is not going to happen.

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  • GuessWht!
    Sep 27, 2012 - 6:47AM

    @Rizwan Ali:
    Freedom of speech never ask for violance or
    killing some one on bare utterence of some words.
    The way you can say are many print, lcd, light effect letters, vibrate, put on memory card hips or transfers a blasphemy or similar derogetory words. There isse eral fold such remarks at many media places not as public, what you are going to do about that? I bet if there was an electronic meter to check, it would have buzed for days from the huge number of blasphemy comitted around the globe against Islam due to these riots and threats. Now how are we planning to react to that? Mind bogling, isn’t it? The decision on thi mater can not be left on illitrates in modern technology, bloodthirsty radicalsor extremist. Education and all sorts of Ilm is the only Salvation from this unending but dead end madness.

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