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Position on cause of Bhutto's death is same: Pak Govt

Pakistan Govt clarifies that it still stands by the "factual position" that ex-Premier Benzair Bhutto died of a skull fracture and not from a bullet wound.

world Updated: Jan 01, 2008 18:19 IST

Pakistan's caretaker government on Tuesday clarified that it still stood by the "factual position" that ex-Premier Benzair Bhutto died of a skull fracture and not from a bullet wound, a contention challenged by the party of the slain leader.

The clarification came from Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz Khan, who was earlier quoted by the media as urging people to "forgive and ignore" comments made by his ministry's spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema that Bhutto had struck her head on a metal lever on the sun-roof of her armoured Toyota Land Cruiser, resulting in a fatal skull fracture.

But Khan on Tuesday said his apology was only for some "crude words" that the spokesman had used and it had "no effect on the factual position" taken by the government.

Asked by Dawn News channel if the Interior Ministry still believed Bhutto was not shot, Khan replied: "So far, that is the position."

"There is no change in the factual position," he said, adding the investigation into Bhutto's death "is going to take some time".

However, Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leaders insist that she died of a gunshot wound after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi near Islamabad on Thursday last.

Meanwhile, the Home Department of Punjab province on Tuesday issued a front-page advertisement in newspapers offering a reward of Rs 1 crore for information about the gunman and the suspected suicide bomber seen in the photos and video footage of the assassination.

The advertisement included a photo of the suspected assailants and another of the severed head of the suspected bomber.