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Govt Ad Carries Ex-Pak Chief's Photo, PMO Orders Probe

PTI 25 Jan 2010, 8:29:52 AM IST
PTI

Embarrassed by inclusion of former Pakistan Air Force chief's photograph in a government advertisement today along with Indian leaders and icons, the Prime Minister's Office apologised to the nation and ordered an inquiry into the lapse. 

The photograph of former Pakistan Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed in uniform appeared along with those of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi in a full-page newspaper advertisement given by Ministry of Women and Child Development to mark the National Girl Child Day. 

In a damage control exercise, the PMO issued a statement saying, "The Prime Minister's Office has noted with regret the inclusion of a foreign national's photograph in a Government of India advertisement. While an internal enquiry has been instituted, the PMO apologises to the public for this lapse." 

This statement was in sharp contrast to the remarks by Minister for Women and Child Development(WCD) Krishna Tirath who saw nothing wrong in the advertisement, insisting that the message was more important than the photograph. 

Tirath later apologised on behalf of her ministry and said an inquiry will bring out who was responsible for it as multi-level agencies were involved in its printing. 

"Whatever happened was a mistake. Somewhere something went wrong. I regret it. I apologise for it," Tirath told reporters. 

WCD ministry sources said the controversial ad was prepared by Tirath's office through an associate organisation and sent directly to the Directorate of Audio Visual Publicity (DAVP) instead of the ususal procedure of getting it cleared and corrected, if necessary, through the department concerned. DAVP releases government ads to newspapers. PTI