THT 10 YEARS AGO: Pak eats crow on Bhutto killing

Islamabad, January 1, 2008

The Pakistan government has retracted its contention that former prime minister Benazir Bhutto died after striking her head against the sunroof lever of her SUV and has “apologised” for floating the theory.

“The caretaker government of Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro on Monday apologised for the highly provocative comment made by the interior ministry spokesman that Bhutto died because she hit the lever of her bullet-proof Land Cruiser on the fateful (Dec 27) evening,” The News reported today. At a briefing for newspaper editors from all over the country, Interior Minister Lt Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz asked the media and the people to “forgive and ignore” the comment by ministry spokesman Brig (retd) Javed Cheema. Cheema’s comment caused a huge uproar as private TV channels obtained footage showing the assassin pointing and firing a gun at Bhutto. She is then shown collapsing into the vehicle.

It is only later that a suicide bomber blows up at the site in Rawalpindi, causing mayhem and killing at least 20 people. Soomro first tried to defend Cheema, saying he was just relating the facts that had been presented to him, especially about the cause of death. “We are conducting an investigation and all TV footage, all evidence, that would be available will help in reaching a definite conclusion,” Soomro maintained. It was emphatically pointed out that the medical report quoted by the spokesman never mentioned the cause of the head injury to Bhutto.

It only said there was a head injury with a broken skull that caused cardio-pulmonary arrest.

Malaysian minister admits he’s in sex video, refuses to quit

Kuala Lumpur, January 1, 2008

A married Malaysian minister has admitted he is the man in a sex video circulated last week, reports said today, embarrassing Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s conservative government.

Health Minister Chua Soi Lek said he had apologised to Abdullah for his actions, but would not step down over the incident, leaving his fate to the prime minister, the state news agency Bernama said. “I’m the man in the sex tape,” Chua was quoted by Bernama as saying. Chua, who is married with three children, described the woman in the video as a personal friend but gave no further details about her.

The mystery surrounding the videos has been splashed on the front pages of Malaysian newspapers since the DVD was circulated in southern Johor state last week. The video is believed to be taken from closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage recorded in a hotel suite but the location and date are unknown, the Star newspaper reported.

Chua is the vice-president of the Malaysian Chinese Association, a key component of the United Malays National Organisation-led government coalition.