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Pak's 'bounty' minister unapologetic about offer

world Updated: Sep 29, 2012 17:06 IST

A Pakistani minister at the centre of a controversy for offering a reward to anyone who kills the maker of an anti-Islam film has said he will put a bounty on the head of any person who commits blasphemy in future.

Railways minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour said he stood by his offer of a bounty of $100,000 for the killing of the maker of Innocence Of Muslims.

Addressing a meeting at the Muhabbat Khan mosque in Peshawar on Friday, he said he would not be deterred by criticism of action by Western nations.

Bilour, who is a senior leader of the secular and liberal Awami National Party, said he would announce a reward on the head of anyone who blasphemes against Islam in future.

The Pakistan government has distanced itself from the minister's action, saying it does not reflect official policy.

Other parties in Pakistan's ruling coalition have demanded that Bilour should withdraw the bounty and the US and the European Union have condemned the move.

Conservative MPs in Britain have asked authorities to bar Bilour from the country.

Bilour and his brother often travel to Britain and spend time at family properties there, the British media said.

Bilour said the Prime Minister had not sought his resignation and the ANP had not issued him any show cause notice over the bounty.

He said: "I don't care for a ban on my entry to any country, including Britain, over the bounty issue".

He said he did not want a confrontation with any religion or country but said it was unfair for the West to defend the blasphemous movie under the "freedom of expression".

If the US and Britain frame laws against blasphemy, it will save the world from terrorism, he claimed.

After Bilour offered the bounty, the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan lauded his act and said militants had decided to remove his name from their "hit list".

Bilour claimed the removal of his name from the Taliban's hit list was not big news as one's life is in the hands of God.

"Neither the Taliban can kill me nor can they save me from being killed," he contended.

Bilour was given a warm welcome at the historic mosque and men showered rose petals on him.

They shouted slogans in his support.

The Aalmi Khatm-e-Naboowat Movement announced it would honour Bilour for offering the bounty offer by presenting him with a medal.