ISLAMABAD: A federal lawmaker from the Awami National Party (ANP), who had offered head money for the maker of an anti-Islam movie, has announced a $200,000 bounty for the owner of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo that published blasphemous caricatures.
In 2012, MNA Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour had announced a $100,000 reward for anyone who killed the filmmaker of ‘Innocence of Muslims’, a sacrilegious movie that had triggered condemnation from Muslims across the world.
Speaking on the floor of the National Assembly on Monday, Bilour also announced a $100,000 compensation for the families of those killed during the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris last month. “I had already declared that I will not tolerate any attack on the sanctity of the Holy Prophet (pbuh),” said Bilour.
Earlier during the proceedings, the lawmakers unanimously passed a resolution condemning Friday’s suicide blast at Karbala-e-Moalla Imambargah in Shikarpur district of Sindh which claimed the lives of 60 people.
The resolution was moved by Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada amid severe criticism by the lawmakers over the ‘insensitive attitude’ shown by the prime minister and his cabinet ministers after the tragedy.
The house denounced all acts of terrorism and urged the government to intensify its efforts in achieving the goals set in the National Action Plan in order to eliminate the scourge of terrorism from the country.
The house, summoned to discuss the recent petrol crisis in Punjab, had to turn its focus on the Shikarpur incident after the PPP sought a debate on the tragedy.
Leader of the opposition Syed Khurshid Shah criticised the prime minister and his cabinet members for not visiting Shikarpur despite being present in Karachi on that day. “The whole cabinet had rushed to Peshawar after the APS attack but showed complete apathy to the Shikarpur tragedy.”
He also took strong exception to the ‘non-seriousness of ministers’ at the front row who were busy talking and laughing when he was speaking, which prompted the PPP lawmakers to shout ‘shame, shame’.
“This is the level of seriousness that 60 lives perished in Shikarpur and they are laughing here in the house,” Shah said after which pin-drop silence enveloped the treasury benches during the remaining part of his speech.
While responding to the questions raised by MNAs, Safron Minister Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch said: “We should be ready for such incidents as terrorists might strike due to the military action launched against them”.
He said the federal government was providing every kind of assistance to the provinces to fight terrorism and is ready to do more. “There is a need for intelligence sharing and cooperation between the provincial and federal governments. There is also need to de-politicise the law enforcement agencies to maintain peace in the country,” he added.
JUI-F’s Maulana Amir Zaman also criticised the government over its ‘insensitive attitude’.
MQM’s Saman Sultana Jaffri, while condemning the Shikarpur incident, said unless the mindset fanning terrorism is eliminated all efforts will prove futile. Jamaat-e-Islami’s Sahibzada Tariqullah demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2015.