Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Ignore Our Mistakes, We're Competent

Pakistani officials begged for the country to "forgive and ignore" its earlier statement that Benazir Bhutto died from a fractured skull, and admitted that they no longer stand behind the earlier finding.

The Hindustan Times reports:

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.

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.

Cheema's earlier statement was discredited all the more because he had blamed the fracture on a lever on the sunroof mechanism of Bhutto's vehicle, but Bhutto's family reports that no such knob exists on the car.

Despite all this, Pakistan Prime Minister Soomro turned away press suggestions that an independent investigation by international bodies, saying the government was fully capable of carrying out a professional investigation.

I don't think an international investigation would provide much insight (as explained here), but the Pakistani government is going to have to start doing much better if it doesn't want Bhutto's assassination to become the ultimate playground of conspiracy theorists.

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