Pak Taliban grants amnesty for bounty minister
Islamabad: The Pakistani Taliban on Thursday said they had removed from their "hit list" a federal minister who has offered a bounty of USD 100,000 for the death of a filmmaker who produced anti-Islam movie.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan told reporters in the country's northwest that the militants had granted an "amnesty" to Railway Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, who triggered a controversy by offering the reward last week.
Ihsan told reporters on phone that Bilour's views represent the real spirit of Islam and the Taliban 'shura' or council had decided to remove him from their hit list.
However, he made it clear that the amnesty would not apply to Bilour's Awami National Party.
Bilour has sought the help of the Taliban and Al Qaida's for the "noble cause" of killing the filmmaker and said the reward could be paid to militants.
The crudely made film has triggered violent protests across the Muslim world, including Pakistan.
The Pakistan government has already said that Bilour's offer of a bounty did not represent official policy.
Bilour's action has been condemned by Pakistani politicians and several Western nations, including the US.
Bilour's colleagues in the ANP were angered by his action as the party has been the target of vicious attacks by the Taliban.
Bilour has said that he stands by his bounty and will not withdraw it. He further said freedom of speech should not be used as an excuse to insult Islam or commit blasphemy.