Ghulam Bilour seems to have a portion of his wealth allocated for encouraging violence. The MNA has offered $200,000 as bounty for the owner of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo. When the National Assembly met following the attack on an imambargah in Shikarpur that left nearly 110 dead or injured, Mr Bilour was more concerned about his religious sentiments being hurt by a cartoon in France. As a representative of a province most devastated by terrorism as well as a lawmaker of the Awami National Party, many of whose members have lost lives in the war on terror, Mr Bilour’s apparent priorities, when debating the sectarian attack, are disturbing to say the least.
The MNA had made a similar announcement as railway minister in September 2012, when he offered a $100,000 bounty for the makers of a blasphemous film, inciting more violent sentiments days after parts of the country had been ravaged in riots that occurred in response to the film. Three months after this, his brother Bashir Bilour, an honest voice against terrorism, was martyred in a bomb blast by extremists. And yet, here is Mr Bilour, welcoming more violence. Whether this is only a publicity stunt or a true representation of his sentiments, the statement remains just as atrocious and must be taken more seriously than the mindless announcement appears to be. What is happening here is that we have a parliamentarian supporting the spilling of blood on the streets and that too in a country where too many are all too ready to take the law into their own hands. In the National Assembly of Pakistan, Mr Bilour has called for murder; he has attempted to make extrajudicial killings acceptable, in fact, justifiable. Pakistan frequently makes it to the world headlines because of extremism-related incidents, and Mr Bilour is once again bringing the country to centre stage for all the wrong reasons. At a time when the rest of the world is debating the spread of extremism and discrimination, and rethinking assimilation of Muslims, a Pakistani parliamentarian is inciting murder.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2015.
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