Taliban removes minister from hit list

2012-09-26 16:21


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Miranshah - Pakistani Taliban on Wednesday said they had removed a minister from their "hit list" after he offered $100 000 for the death of a filmmaker who produced an anti-Islam movie.

Railways minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour sparked international condemnation when he offered the blood money and urged the Taliban and al-Qaeda to carry out what he called the "noble deed.

"We have totally forgiven him and removed his name from our hit list," said Taliban spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan.

Ehsan said that Taliban shoora, a top consultative body, had met on Tuesday and "praised Bilour for his sacrifice for the cause of Islam.

"The shoora paid rich tributes to Bilour and endorsed his bounty announcement," he said.

The Pakistan government and Bilour's own party have distanced themselves from the reward for the killing of the person behind the crudely-made "Innocence of Muslims", which has sparked violent protests across the Islamic world.

But Bilour insisted public opinion was behind him in Pakistan, which has seen widespread protests against the film including nationwide rallies on Friday that ended in bloodshed and looting, with 21 people killed.

Washington condemned Bilour's reward offer as "inflammatory and inappropriate", while the EU said it deplored it.

Bilour, regarded as one of the most influential politicians in Pakistan's deeply religious northwest, where anti-Western feelings run deep, said he was surprised by the outrage.

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