News / Asia

    Pakistani Lawyer Calls for Legal Action Against US-Funded Ad Campaign

     Hashmat Habib, speaks to media in Rawalpindi, January 5, 2007.
    Hashmat Habib, speaks to media in Rawalpindi, January 5, 2007.
    A Pakistani lawyer is calling for the country’s Supreme Court to look into a U.S.-funded ad campaign broadcast on Pakistan television that attempted to defuse the anger at the United States regarding an anti-Islam video.  

    Lawyer Hashmat Habib, who has defended jihadist clients, claims the ad campaign is tantamount to U.S. propaganda regarding an amateur video mocking the Prophet Muhammad.

    The video that appeared on the Internet set off protests around the Muslim world. The protests left almost 20 dead in Pakistan after rioters took to the streets across the country.

    The U.S. State Department tried to explain the U.S. position on the video by paying Pakistan mainstream news channels to air a series of public service announcements.  The ads featured President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denouncing the anti-Islam video.

    But Habib lashed out at the advertisements and criticized the Pakistan government and media for allowing them to run.

    “These Pakistani media are also committing a crime, and they also may be put to task by the Muslims in the world,” said Habib.

    Habib’s criticism underlines the increasing frustration of some in Pakistan about material offensive to Islam, and who blame the United States for allowing it to continue.

    According to the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, the ad campaign was to run for four days on radio networks and five days on TV prior to the mass protests that rocked the country. The ads ran on prime time in the local Urdu language, or with subtitles.
    An interpreter for a medical NGO in northwest Pakistan, Haroon Kahn, did not think much of the effort.

    He says, “My personal view is that there is very little impact of that advertisement of the U.S. government on the Pakistani people, because hatred against the United States is increasing in Pakistan and the release of the video added fuel to the fire.”

    Independent media analyst Adnan Rehmet said the ads likely reached an estimated 70-million people. But they did not stop the thousands who took to the streets.

    “There are always these fringe groups in Pakistan whose whole politics are premised on this perceived grievance that the U.S. is interfering too much in Pakistan’s affairs and is conspiring to undo Pakistan or something, or is attacking Islam,” said Rehmet.

    U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Rian Harris said Monday that the objective was to reach out and explain the U.S. position to as many Pakistanis as possible. Harris said the U.S. believed it had reached that goal.

    But Rehmet said unless the controversial video was pulled off the Internet, little would persuade the more extremist groups that their concerns were being addressed.
    The violent protests revealed some of the deep divisions in Pakistan society. In broadcasts after the riots, one Pakistan pop radio station in Lahore criticized the destruction of property and loss of life. In Islamabad, a youth group reached out over social media and organized a street cleanup, with one supporter Tweeting: “let the world know that real Pakistanis do not believe in violence!”

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Nielsen's, Sina Weibo Team Up for Closer Look at Chinese Social Media

    US-based rating agency reaches deal with China's Twitter-like service to gauge marketing effectiveness on platform which has more than 200 million users

    Despite Cease-fire, Myanmar Landmine Scourge Goes Unaddressed

    Myanmar has third-highest mine casualty rate in the world, according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which says between 1999 to 2014 it recorded 3,745 casualties, 396 of whom died

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora