US slams Pakistani minister's filmmaker bounty

Sep 24, 2012 - 08:09 1 comment
  • Pakistani Sunni Muslims gather in a protest rally against the anti-Islam film in Lahore on September 23, 2012. PHOTO/ AFP

The United States on Sunday denounced a $100,000 bounty offered by a Pakistani cabinet minister for killing the maker of an anti-Islam film that has triggered a wave of deadly, violent protests.

Pakistan's Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour on Saturday offered the "prize" for killing the filmmaker of "Innocence of Muslims" and invited the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to take part in the "noble deed."

But the bounty offered was slammed by the State Department.

US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "have both said the video at the core of this is offensive, disgusting, and reprehensible," a State Department official said.

"But that is no justification for violence and it is important for responsible leaders to stand up and speak out against violence," the official added in a statement.

"Therefore we find Mr. Bilour's announcement is inflammatory and inappropriate."

Pakistan on Sunday distanced itself from Bilour's comments, with Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf rejecting the bounty offer even as new protests erupted from Turkey to Hong Kong.

"This is not government policy. We completely dissociate (ourselves) from this," a spokesman for the prime minister's office told AFP.

Fresh rallies were held across Pakistan Sunday to condemn the film after violent nationwide protests Friday left 21 people dead when police used tear gas and live rounds to fight back protesters.

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