Pakistan’s Awami National Party, a central government coalition partner, distanced itself from a minister who promised a bounty to kill the maker of an anti-Islam film that has sparked protests in the Muslim world.
The threat isn’t in keeping with the party’s policy of non-violence, Zahid Khan, a party spokesman, said in a phone interview from Peshawar today. Federal Railway Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour yesterday told reporters that he would pay $100,000 to have the movie producer killed, according to local media outlets, including the Dawn newspaper.
The film, called “Innocence of Muslims,” has been responsible for deadly attacks on U.S. and European targets from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. Pakistanis protesting the movie clashed with police in several cities where mobs set fire to movie theaters, banks, fast-food outlets and vehicles. Bilour couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
“It is the minister’s personal opinion,” Khan said. “This is not Pakistan’s policy.”
Pakistani television channels have aired an advertisement by the State Department with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton disavowing the film.
Anti-American sentiment has been running high in Pakistan after years of U.S. drone missile attacks, the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani town last year and other confrontations.