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Bounty offer sends shockwaves

Frontier Gandhi, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, would be turning in his grave. For it is a leader of the Awami National Party, the party that Ghaffar Khan founded, who has announced a bounty for the head of the producer of the controversial film that has shaken the Muslim world.

world Updated: Sep 23, 2012 23:28 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

Frontier Gandhi, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, would be turning in his grave. For it is a leader of the Awami National Party, the party that Ghaffar Khan founded, who has announced a bounty for the head of the producer of the controversial film that has shaken the Muslim world.

The $100,000 bounty offered by Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Pakistan’s railways minister, shocks many Pakistanis. More so because of the secular credentials of the party that Bilour represents. Other than that, much of the criticism comes over why Bilour would make such a statement given his own credentials.

Bilour’s family, for one, owns the Shama Cinema. This cinema is known in Peshawar for airing porn clips in between regular shows. There have been cases registered against Bilour’s family members over the fare offered at the cinema. However, due to the family’s political connections, the provincial government looked the other way.

There are also serious charges levelled against Bilour himself in his tenure as minister for railways. There are allegation of irregularities in contracts awarded under him. For his part, Bilour has compared himself to Lalu Prasad Yadav and in one press conference said that there was also criticism against Yadav “but at the end he proved himself to be India’s best railways minister.”

On Twitter, reporter Umar Cheema observed that Bilour paid just over $1,000 annually as income tax and questioned where he would get the money to pay the bounty. Others concede it was a case of an overzealous politician trying to make capital of the situation.