World Bulletin / News Desk
The United States has paid Pakistani television stations to run advertisements featuring President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, hoping to calm public anger in a country hit by protests against an anti-Islam movie made in California, the State Department said on Thursday.
The U.S. embassy in Islamabad spent about $70,000 to run the announcement, which features clips of Obama and Clinton underscoring U.S. respect for religion and declaring the U.S. government had nothing to do with the movie, it said.
"In order to ensure we reached the largest number of Pakistanis, some 90 million as I understand it in this case with these spots, it was the judgment that this was the best way to do it," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told a news briefing.
The U.S. announcement aired as Washington warned Americans to avoid non-essential travel to Pakistan, one of the mostly Muslim countries hit by a wave of anti-American demonstrations. In Libya, a deadly assault last week killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
The protests, which were sparked by an Internet video that mocked the Prophet Mohammad and swept through Yemen, Egypt and other countries, also prompted the U.S. government to withdraw non-essential personnel in Tunisia and Sudan.
In Pakistan, protesters have demonstrated in more than a dozen cities.
Nuland said the decision to buy the television ads, identified as paid public service announcements, was not unusual in countries where this is "the norm for getting your message out."
"I think the sense was that this particular aspect of the president and the secretary's message needed to be heard by more Pakistanis than had heard it, and that this was an effective way to get that message across," she said.
She said it would take time to measure the effectiveness of the ads in Pakistan, where on Thursday huge crowds again gathered to protest against the video.
Pakistani military spokesman saysin statement that allegations of Pakistani involvement in Kunduz attack are 'mischievous'
Two states agreed on submarines trade deal, entailing transfer of technology for submarine construction to Pakistan
'We have to provide our senior leadership options different than the current plan we are going with,' says Gen. Campbell
Humanitarian situation in the strategic northern city is thought to be difficult but the extent of what is needed remains unclear because of problems getting access
German chancellor held lengthy talks with the Indian prime minister on her first trip to New Delhi since Modi's right-wing party stormed to power
USgeneral says Afghan army called to eliminate the Taliban threat and several civilians were accidentally struck,
Father, three children reported to have been asleep inside house when three men armed with M-16 rifles barged in and fired on them
Local forces resist Taliban attempt to capture Maimana, week after temporary fall of Kunduz
Six parties won seats in the Kyrgyzstan legislature, all of them pro-Russian, in Sunday's vote
Doctors Without Borders put US under pressure as they wish to investigate Kunduz hospital bombing
Six political parties in total pass threshold to enter 120-member unicameral legislature
Hospital operator Medecins Sans Frontieres says it is ‘disgusted’ by Afghan gov’t claims that medical compound was exploited by Taliban
PM's remarks came a day after 66-year-old Japanese citizen was shot dead in northern Bangladesh, the second foreigner to be murdered in the South Asian nation in less than a week
Deadly clashes reported in different parts of Afghanistan in week which saw heavy fighting for strategic northern city
Moscow refuses to recognize North Korea as nuclear state, echoing Washington's stance
Dead include 2 soldiers and the father of a suspected insurgent in Muslim majority provinces