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Asia-pacific

Pakistani minister offers bounty for anti-Islam filmmaker

Latest update : 2012-09-24

Pakistan’s government on Sunday sought to distance itself from a cabinet minister’s offer of a $100,000 reward for killing the maker of an anti-Islam film that has triggered protests across the Muslim world.

Pakistan’s government on Sunday sought to distance itself from a cabinet minister’s $100,000 reward for killing the maker of the “Innocence of Muslims”, an anti-Islam film that has sparked widespread protests throughout the Muslim world.

"This is not government policy. We completely dissociate (ourselves) from this," Shafqat Jalil, a spokesperson for the prime minister’s office, said.

The government’s comments come one day after Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour urged Taliban and al-Qaeda followers to join in the "noble deed", and said given the chance he would kill the filmmaker with his own hands.

"I urge my Taliban and al-Qaida brothers to perform the sacred duty of helping locate and kill the filmmaker", says Ghulam Ahmed Bilour

Bilour was speaking to reporters in the northwestern city of Peshawar after violent nationwide protests against the film on Friday claimed the lives of 21 people and left more than 200 others injured.

"I announce today that this blasphemer who has abused the holy prophet, if somebody will kill him, I will give that person a prize of $100,000," Bilour said, calling on others to shower the killer with cash and gold.

"I also invite Taliban and Al-Qaeda brothers to be partners in this noble deed," he said.

"I also announce that if the government hands this person over to me, my heart says I will finish him with my own hands and then they can hang me."

Protests against the film, which mocks Islam and was made by extremist Christians, have erupted across the Muslim world, leading to more than 50 deaths since demonstrations first erupted on September 11.

This week’s publication of ridiculing the Prophet Mohammed in French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has further stoked anger.

The producer of the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is reportedly a 55-year-old Egyptian Copt and convicted fraudster – out on parole – who lives in Los Angeles, California.

US media say Nakoula wrote and produced the film under the name Sam Bacile before he was identified. He was questioned overnight Friday by police before going into hiding with his family.

Anti-US protests sweep Pakistan

Thousands of Islamist activists in Pakistan staged demonstrations again Saturday but there was no repeat of the previous day's violence.

More than 5,000 protesters marched towards the parliament in Islamabad, including hundreds of women, chanting "We love our Holy Prophet" and "Punishment for those who humiliated our Prophet".

Some 1,500 people from the hardline Islamist Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Sunni religious groups rallied in front of the US consulate in the eastern city of Lahore, chanting "The US deserves only one remedy – jihad, jihad".

Hundreds gathered in the southwestern city of Quetta, calling for the makers of the film to be killed while scores in Peshawar, where six people died in Friday's protests, chanted anti-US slogans.

Religious groups rallied in the southern port city of Karachi, where 15 people were killed Friday, after the funerals of the demonstrators took place.

Witnesses estimated that nationwide rallies on Friday mobilised more than 45,000, mainly members of right-wing religious parties and supporters of banned terror groups, although the numbers were still small in a country of 180 million.

Police fought back with gunshots and tear gas as arsonists and looters attacked cinemas, banks, shops and restaurants in Karachi, where outbreaks of political and ethnically linked violence have killed hundreds this year.

Four more people died overnight from wounds they received during the protests, taking the number killed across Pakistan on Friday to 21, health department officials said.

The combined total of wounded in Karachi, Peshawar and in the capital Islamabad was 229.

Overall, 23 people have been killed in Pakistan during protests over the past week.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2012-09-23

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