The controversial advertisement which appeared in newspapers on January 24, 2010.
The controversial advertisement which appeared in newspapers on January 24, 2010.

PMO apologises over ex-PAF chief's photo in govt. ad

New Delhi, January 24, 2010

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) stepped in to control the damage by apologising to the public and ordering an internal inquriy after the Government was hugely embarassed by the use of a photograph of a former Pakistan Air Force (PAF) chief in a government advertisement today.

The half-page advertisement was issued by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to mark National Girl Child Day and was carried by leading newspapers today.

The picture of PAF chief Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed in uniform appeared alongside images of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Minister of State for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath.

Also included in the half-page advertisement were photographs of former Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev, sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and star cricketer Virendra Sehwag.

"The Prime Minister's Office has noted with regret the inclusion of a foreign national's photograph in a Government of India advertisement," Mr Harish Khare, the Media Adviser to the Prime Minister, said in a statement.

"While an internal inquiry has been instituted, the PMO apologises to the public for this lapse," the statement added.

The advertisement was part of a campaign against female foeticide and was headlined, "Where would you be if your mother was not allowed to be born?"

"Suppose your mother was killed before she ever lived...because for many others like her, a lifetime of violence and discrimination begins before birth. Millions of girl children, as evidenced in the 2001 Census, never see the light of the day because they are murdered in the womb itself. Your mother could have been one of them. A declining sex-ratio is the bane of progress. Under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (Prohibition of Sex Selection) (PCPNDT) Act 2003, it is a crime to identify sex of the foetus. Female foeticide is a curse. It is time to wake up to reality. No girl means no future," the copy said.


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