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RFE/RL Talks Pakistan with Husain Haqqani, Bounty-Paying Railways Minister Bilour

Pakistan's former ambassador to U.S. Husain Haqqani gestures as he leaves The High Court Building in Islamabad, 09Jan2012
With tensions higher than ever in Pakistan as a result of the firestorm over "Innocence of Muslims," a film denigrating Islam's Prophet Muhammad, RFE/RL secured interviews with some of the players shaping opinion about the film, as well as those involved with shaping the broader U.S.-Pakistan relationship.

# Radio Mashaal spoke on Friday with Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Pakistani Federal Minister for Railways, who caused a stir when he offered a $100,000 reward for the death of the producer of "Innocence of Muslims." Bilour told reporters that he would pay the bounty out of his own pocket. The announcement surprised many because Bilour's Awami National Party is actually a proponent of nonviolence. In today's interview, the minister explains why he posted the bounty and how he feels about the fact that the Taliban took his name of a hit list of possible targets soon after he made his announcement.

# Reporting from this week's U.N. General Assembly, correspondent Courtney Brooks says that following protests and violence over the inflammatory anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims," influential leaders in the Muslim world are calling for international laws against blasphemy.

# Islamabad and Washington should start working toward a "post-alliance future," according to Husain Haqqani, who served as Islamabad's ambassador to Washington from 2008 until his resignation in late 2011. Haqqani spoke to correspondent Richard Solash, who earlier this week reported on former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter's call for the U.S.-Pakistan relationship to be built on a mutual "desire for marriage, not a one-night stand."

Follow Radio Mashaal online and on Facebook, and the Gandhara blog on Twitter, to include Daud Khattak's look at how a single tweet mobilized thousands of young Pakistanis to action with "Project Cleanup for Peace" after a wave of extremist violence left neighborhoods across some major cities in ruins.

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