ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – From 2002 to 2010, the United States gave $13.3 billion in security-related aid to Pakistan, and $6 billion for economic assistance. It subsequently increased following the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and the retaliatory attack by the U.S. n the Taliban regime. More than $5.3 billion is pledged for the 2012 fiscal year of which $2.3 billion is earmarked to help the country’s counter-terrorism efforts. (Source: ABC News)
Despite this massive amount of financial support provided by the U.S. to Pakistan, there have been mounting tensions between the two nations, as well as a significant spike in mistrust following the death of Osama bin Laden on 2 May 2011.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a Pakistan government minister has offered $100,000 (£61,616) bounty for the death of the maker of an anti-Islam film produced in the U.S. According to Reuters, Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour said he would pay the reward for the "sacred duty" out of his own pocket.
The incendiary film has sparked protests across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, but in many instances the film has been used as an excuse by those who harbor resentment of the slow pace of change following the Arab Spring; and in the case of the murder of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, as cover for a coordinated, paramilitary terrorist attack.
Though Secretary Hillary Clinton, President Obama and other U.S. government officials have vigorously condemned the film, this has failed to placate the mobs which have taken to the streets of Islamic nations.
Since the violent protests erupted in Pakistan at least 20 people died in clashes between anti-film protesters and Pakistani police. U.S. citizens have been warned against traveling to the region and an advertising campaign designed to calm tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan is being vigorously promoted.
The Pakistani government has disavowed Mr. Bilour’s statements but is currently in discussions about what if any action to take against him. At this point he will remain in his position even as he reaffirmed his commitment to “pay whoever kills the makers of this video $100,000, and if someone else makes other similar blasphemous material in the future, I will also pay his killers $100,000.”
The low-budget film was produced in 2011 and posted to YouTube where it languished without incident until it was promoted in the U.S. by an anti-Islamic pastor. It was subsequently discovered by Muslim news-makers, at which point, though it is unclear when, it was translated into Arabic.
The film is extremely inflammatory, depicting the Prophet Mohammad in an unflattering and blasphemous manner. The alleged producer of the trailer of the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is in hiding.Follow Nahmias Cipher Report on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Editor: @ayannanahmias