In a dramatic U-turn, Pakistan government has “apologised” for claiming that former premier Benazir Bhutto died of a skull fracture after hitting the sunroof of her car during a suicide attack.
Caretaker Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz Khan has asked the media and people to “forgive and ignore” comments made by his ministry’s spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema which were slammed by her Pakistan People’s Party as “lies” and led to an uproar at home and abroad.
The Interior Minister made the apology during a briefing for Pakistani newspaper editors on Monday. Punjab province on Tuesday issued a front-page advertisement in newspapers that offered a reward of Rs 1 crore for information about a gunman and a suspected suicide bomber seen in the photos and video footage of the assassination.
Why not just ask the Pakistan Intelligence Service?
The government’s apparent damage control exercise on Cheema’s comments made at a news conference a day after Bhutto was assassinated at Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi on December 27, came after TV channels aired privately shot photos and video footage which showed a gunman shooting at Bhutto. The Pakistan People’s Party leader is seen in the footage falling through the sun-roof before the suicide bomber detonated his explosives. The briefing by caretaker Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro was also attended by the foreign, interior and information ministers and senior officials.”Editor after editor lambasted the government for its non-serious attitude towards the tragedy, specially the statement that Bhutto had died by hitting the lever and not (due to) a bullet or shrapnel,” The News reported.
During the briefing, an editor asked why spokesman Cheema had said that a lever on the sun-roof had caused a fatal injury when the manufacturers of the car and Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari had stated that there was no metallic lever that could have caused the wound.
Khan said the spokesman’s comments may have been a mistake as “we are faujis (soldiers) and we are not so articulate to present our views as you journalists can”. Both the interior minister and spokesman Cheema are retired army officers.
Yeah, us ‘faujis’ would be in deep shit had we not stuck to the ‘offical’ story.