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- Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - From Print Edition


ISLAMABAD: Federal Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour has refused to withdraw his statement of announcing head money for the US producer of blasphemous film despite strong US reaction and pressure of the government and the Awami Natioal Party (ANP).


Sources said that the Prime Minister Pervaiz Ashraf spoke with ANP President Asfandyar Wali and the ANP took into confidence KP senior Minister Bashir Bilour and Senator Ilyas Bilour and asked them to persuade Bilour to withdraw the statement.


However, according to these sources, the minister says he was bound by his religion and as a Pakistani Muslim and Pakhtoon, there was no question of his taking back the announcement. He said he would remain committed to his announcement and it does not matter to him if some one was annoyed over it. Meanwhile, the ANP has distanced itself from the reward offered by Bilour.


The ANP, which is part of the ruling coalition, said it rejected the $100,000 bounty offered by railways minister to anyone who killed the person behind the “Innocence of Muslims” film.“This kind of thing is beyond our imagination because it will end the difference between ANP and extremists.” Consultations on the matter were in progress. However they were being hampered because party leader Asfandyar Wali Khan has gone to the United States to take part in the UN General Assembly session.