A 30-second television commercial shows pictures of Bin Ladin, his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, who both have $25 million rewards on their heads, and 21 others, including Mullah Muhammad Omar, the leader of Afghanistan's vanquished Taliban militia.

   

"State-run Radio Pakistan is running these commercials since last Wednesday in Urdu, Pashto, Baluchi and Sindhi languages," said Greggory Crouch, press attache of the US embassy in Islamabad.

   

Private television channel Geo is also running the US appeal, and talks are on to air it on state television, he said.

 

First time

   

This is the first time that the United States has used these methods in Pakistan, although officials routinely speculate that the al-Qaida leader is hiding somewhere on the rugged border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 

Bin Ladin figures on a 30-second
television commercial

The reaction of Pakistanis living in these border areas was mixed.

   

"Even if one terrorist is arrested because of these advertisements, it would be worth it," said Gul Baran, a 53-year-old man from Chaman, a frontier town in Pakistan's

western province of Baluchistan.

   

But Juma Khan, another resident of the town, was outraged. "These advertisements are an insult to Muslims. Pakistani television and radio channels and newspapers should not stoop so low for the sake of money."

 

Efforts

   

In Wana, the main town in the South Waziristan tribal area, where the Pakistani army has concentrated efforts to kill or capture al-Qaida linked Islamists, Bin Ladin was a hero to many people but he could still be betrayed.

   

"The American propaganda proved effective in Afghanistan and helped them to catch many Taliban. It can also work here"

Muzaffar Khan,
resident of Wana

"The American propaganda proved effective in Afghanistan and helped them to catch many Taliban. It can also work here," said Muzaffar Khan a resident of Wana.

   

The advertisement carries a contact telephone number and an email address, and promises confidentiality and resettlement for informants and their families.

   

Pakistani newspapers ran similar advertisements last month.

   

Pakistan has so far arrested hundreds of al-Qaida-linked Islamists and handed them over to the US authorities.