The Pakistan government distanced itself yesterday from a US$100,000 bounty offered by a cabinet minister for the death of the maker of an anti-Islam film that has sparked protests across the Muslim world.
Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour invited members of the Taliban and al-Qaeda to take part in the "noble deed", and said given the chance he would kill the filmmaker himself.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf rejected Bilour's comments, made on Saturday, a day after angry protests across Pakistan against Innocence of Muslims left 21 people dead and more than 200 injured.
"This is not government policy. We completely dissociate [ourselves] from this," the spokesman said.
More than 50 people have died in protests and attacks around the world linked to the low-budget film, which mocks Islam and the prophet Mohammed, since the first demonstrations on September 11.
The producer of the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is reported to be a 55-year-old Egyptian Copt and convicted fraudster, based in Los Angeles and currently out on parole.
Nakoula is said to have written and produced the film, using the pseudonym Sam Bacile. He and his family are now in hiding.