Pakistan government distances itself from filmmaker death bounty
Railway minister says $100,000 reward will come out of his own pocket
Pakistan’s government has distanced itself from a minister’s $100,000 reward for the death of the person who made a controversial film of the Prophet Muhammad that has sparked protests across the Muslim world.
A statement from the Pakistani prime minister’s office said Sunday that the comments made by the country's railways minister were his own.
"He is not a member of the ruling PPP (Pakistan People’s Party), he is an Awami National Party (ANP) politician and therefore the prime minister will speak to the head of the ANP to decide the next step, the statement read.
"They are not ruling out against him but say he will stay in his post for now."
Minister offers his own money
Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Balor has offered a $100,000 reward for the death of the person who made the amateur anti-Islam video, adding he would pay the reward out of his own pocket.
Balor encouraged the Taliban and al-Qaeda to aid and perform that "sacred duty.
The film, Innocence of Muslims, has triggered a series of deadly protests across many Muslim countires.
On Sept. 11, a group angry at the film's portrayal of the Prophet Muhammed as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester, fired gunshots and burned down the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, killing four Americans, including U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
More than 20 people died in Pakistan Friday in different clashes throughout the country.
Thousands of Muslims protested in several other countries, including Iraq, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, with some burning American flags.
Filmmaker in hiding
U.S. federal authorities said 55-year-old Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is behind the film, which was made in the U.S. Nakoula has only admitted that he was involved in the logistics of the film but has yet to admit creating it.
Nakoula, whose criminal record includes drugs and check fraud convictions, has been in hiding since leaving his home in Los Angeles last weekend.
Joseph N. Abdelmasih, the president of Media for Christ — the production company listed for the film and its headquarters — is an outspoken critic of Islam and has also gone into hiding.
Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress in the film, says she has also received threats and claims she was tricked by Nakoula and never knew what the film was actually about.
Steve Klein, a California insurance agent who has dedicated his life to warning the world about Muslim extremism, has said he was a consultant and promoter of the film.
Both Nakoula and Abdelmasih are followers of a U.S. Coptic priest named Zakaria Botros Henein. Henein, of Orange County, Calif., has not been linked to the film but has been called Islam's Public Enemy No. 1 for his teachings disparaging the faith.
A Toronto Coptic Christian activist also fears for his life now as a result of the film and false accusations that he played a role in it.
Nader Fawzy said Saturday he believes the Egyptian government put his name on the list as revenge for his campaigning for better treatment of Egypt’s minority Christian population.
With files from The Associated Press