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.
Sharon Behn
— 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!”

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid