Embarrassed by inclusion of former Pakistan Air Force chief's photograph in a government advertisement on Sunday 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.
In a huge embarrassment, a full-page newspaper advertisement given by the Centre to mark the National Girl Child Day carried a photograph of a former Pakistan Air Force chief along with that of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
The advertisement also showed sports icons Kapil Dev and Virender Sehwag and sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan along with former PAF chief Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed in uniform with the heading, "Where would you be if your mother was not allowed to be born?"
An unrepentant Minister for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath defiantly refused to accept the blunder and accused the media of hair-splitting.
She said the "message is more important than the image. The photograph is only symbolic. The message for the girl child is more important. She should be protected."
Tirath told reporters that whether the mistake was on part of her Ministry or the DAVP which releases government advertisements, will be investigated.