A former Pakistani lawmaker says he'll pay $200,000 for the filmmaker's death
Pakistan's railway minister is offering a $100,000 bounty
His party condemns his action, saying it opposes militancy and extremism
For the second time in less than two weeks, a prominent Pakistani is offering a six-figure bounty to anyone who kills the man who produced “Innocence of Muslims,” a film that has offended many Muslims throughout the world.
Former Pakistani lawmaker Ikramullah Shahid told demonstrators protesting the movie in Peshawar on Monday that he’d pay $200,000 to anyone who kills the filmmaker, according to Siraj Ul Haq, a senior leader of the religious group that organized the rally.
More than 15,000 protestors participated in a peaceful protest, Haroon Khan, a senior Peshawar police official, told CNN.
Nine days ago, current Pakistani Railway Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour personally offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who would kill the filmmaker. Bilour clarified to CNN he was speaking for himself and not as a government representative.
After he posed the initial bounty, Bilour was asked whether he was concerned about committing or condoning a crime as a government official.
“I am a Muslim first, then a government representative,” Bilour said.
He said he invited the Taliban and al Qaeda to carry out the assassination.
Sen. Zahid Khan, a spokesman for Bilour’s political party, said the minister’s action is not representative of the Awami National Party.
“We believe in nonviolence. How could we make such announcements?” Khan said. “Our party has been fighting against militancy and extremism for years. How could we invite Taliban and al Qaeda to kill someone? Taliban and al Qaeda are our enemies who have killed our loved ones.”
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf also condemned the bounty issued by Bilour, according to his spokesman.
Neither of the prominent Pakistanis offering bounties mentioned the filmmaker by name. U.S. officials say Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian, is behind the privately produced film.
Nakoula was arrested last week in California and accused of violating his probation on a bank fraud conviction. He was ordered held without bail Thursday.
Members of his family have left their California home and gone into hiding amid the at-times violent worldwide protests, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has said.
“Innocence of Muslims” isn’t eliciting strong responses only in traditionally Muslim countries. In Russia on Monday, in the latest in a series of legal moves, Moscow’s Tverskoi Court declared the film “extremist,” according to state media RIA Novosti. Russian courts expect to reach a full ruling on the movie this Friday, RIA Novosti reports.
Last Friday, a court in Grozny, the capital of Russia’s mainly Islamic Republic of Chechnya, ruled against widespread distribution of the film, RIA Novosti said.
Journalist Aamir Iqbal contributed to this report.