Pakistani Lawmaker Offers $200,000 To Kill Owner Of French Weekly 'Charlie Hebdo', Indian Muslim Editor Hounded For Republishing 'Charlie Hebdo' Cover

February 2, 2015

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Ghulam Ahmed Bilour is a senior Pakistani politician

Following the January 7 jihadi attacks on the offices of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, public sentiments in Pakistan and India have been generally supportive of the attackers. Following are two reports indicating how a Pakistani lawmaker offered a reward for the attackers while a Muslim Indian editor is being hounded for republishing a Charlie Hebdo cover:

Pakistani Daily Report Titled: "Bilour Offers Bounty For Charlie Hebdo Owner"

According to a Pakistani daily, Pakistan's former federal minister for railways and veteran sitting Member of Parliament from the secular Awami National Party (ANP) Ghulam Ahmed Bilour has announced a bounty of $200,000 for killing the owner of French weekly Charlie Hebdo in revenge for publishing cartoons blasphemous of Prophet Muhammad.

Speaking on the floor of the National Assembly (the lower house of the Pakistani parliament) on February 2, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour also announced $100,000 for the relatives of the militants who attacked the office of Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7 this year. His announcement of the bounty came as the Pakistani lawmakers passed a parliamentary resolution condemning the January 30 suicide bombing of a Shia mosque at Shikarpur in Pakistan.

"I had already declared that I will not tolerate any attack on the sanctity of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)," said Bilour, according to a report titled "Bilour Offers Bounty For Charlie Hebdo Owner" in The Express Tribune daily.

In September 2012, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour had announced a bounty of $100,000 for anyone who killed the filmmaker behind "Innocence of Muslims" – a short movie that became popular on the internet and was deemed blasphemous of Muhammad. It should be noted that his brother, Bashir Ahmed Bilour, was assassinated by the Taliban in 2012 for opposing jihadi groups.

Indian Daily Report Titled: "Case Over Paris Cartoon Forces Mumbai Editor To Go Behind A Veil"


The January 17 front page of Avadhnama carried the cover of Charlie Hebdo

According to an Indian media report, Shirin Dalvi, the woman editor of Urdu-language daily Avadhnama, which is published from Mumbai and several other towns in northern India, was arrested and released on bail for publishing a Charlie Hebdo cover on January 17 (see above). A report titled "Case over Paris cartoon forces Mumbai editor to go behind a veil" in The Indian Express daily noted:

"'How should I drink this now?' A few minutes later, she finally managed to slip in the straw through her face-veil to take a long sip inside a restaurant in south Mumbai. Shirin Dalvi, 46, had never worn a burqa until about two weeks ago when she was the Mumbai bureau chief of the Urdu daily Avadhnama. But all that changed on January 17, when Avadhnama published an image of Charlie Hebdo's 'Je Suis Charlie' cover the week after the terror attack in Paris.

"While the world hailed the French magazine for going ahead with that special edition, Dalvi's world crashed around her. On January 19, she lost her job. Nine days later, she was booked and arrested by… police 'for outraging religious feelings' with 'malicious intent' under Section 295 A of the IPC [Indian Penal Code]. Today, apart from threats to her life, Dalvi has six FIRs [first information reports that launch a police prosecution] registered against her — in Mumbai, Thane and Malegaon.

"And, as she struggled to finish that glass of lime juice, she revealed that she hadn't been with her two teenaged children for two weeks now, except for a few hours as she surrendered in Mumbra and got bail from a Thane court. 'It was a clear news story. If you write about the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo, you also need to publish a relevant picture with it. That image has been printed in the Indian media in several places, but I am being singled out,' Dalvi told The Indian Express.

"Avadhnama's six other editions, all in [the northern state of] Uttar Pradesh, didn't publish that image — they remain open — but the furore after the Mumbai edition of January 17 hit the stands was immediate. Complaints were registered at numerous police stations in the city... On January 18, Avadhnama published an apology written by Dalvi on the front page. But that didn't help. A day later, Avadhnama's Mumbai edition was shut down and all its 15 employees sacked."

"Dalvi's trauma, meanwhile, had just begun. After receiving bail on a deposit of Rs. 10,000 in the FIR filed in Mumbra, Dalvi's interim bail plea in another will be heard by Bombay High Court on Wednesday [February 4]. The rest await. 'Why am I being harassed even after publishing a front-page apology?' she asked. 'Facing the community again has become a great concern for me as there is still a lot of unrest. I have avoided showing my face in Muslim-populated pockets. I have not gone back to my house (in Mumbra) since the protest started,' she added.

"Dalvi is now 'passing time' at the homes of friends in Mumbai, and hasn't even been able to speak to her children on the eve of their exams. 'Our house has been locked since the trouble began. Both my daughter and son are living with relatives. They haven't been able to get their books, and they haven't attended college in the last two weeks,' she said. Then, there are the threats. 'My children have my old phone and they told me that someone has been sending messages through WhatsApp, saying 'Maafi nahin milegi (You won't get forgiveness),' she said."

Sources: The Express Tribune (Pakistan), February 3, 2015; The Indian Express (India), February 3, 2015.

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