09.24.12 11:00 AM ET
Bounty Hunting Blasphemers in Pakistan
Even in Pakistan, you'd imagine there would be some kind of policy against a cabinet minister soliciting murder for hire.
But that policy does not extend to actually, hem, doing anything.
The crisis deepened when railways minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, speaking at a political meeting on Saturday, said: “This sinner who has spoken nonsense about the holy Prophet, anyone who murders him, I will reward him with $100,000.”
Mr Bilour, a minister representing a minority party in the coalition government led by president Asif Ali Zardari, said the bounty would come from his “personal funds” and invited “Taliban brothers and al-Qaeda brothers to join me”, according to news reports.
Shafqat Jalil, a spokesman for prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, condemned the offer in a BBC interview, saying Pakistan’s government “absolutely dissociated” itself from the offer.
So if anybody does commit the crime and collect the $100,000, they do so without the endorsement of the rest of the government in which Mr Bilour continues to serve.