Pakistani government: Oh, hey, never mind what we said about Bhutto's cause of death

Amazing what a little documentary evidence can do to concentrate the mind. “Simply bizarre” is how the hospital’s lawyer describes the government’s handling of the investigation, which is putting it mildly. Forensic evidence being hosed away, doctors being intimidated, the awaited autopsy being quietly skipped notwithstanding the dubiousness of the government’s “she hit her head” theory — no wonder the conspiracy theories have gone batty. And now this:

After increasing public uproar over the government investigation, the Interior Ministry issued a statement Tuesday saying there was “no intention to conceal anything from the people of Pakistan.”

Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz on Monday even asked people and the media to forgive and ignore the comment made Friday night about the sunroof by Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema.

Cheema told CNN he based his statement about the sunroof lever “on the initial investigations and the reports by the medical doctors” who treated Bhutto.

Does he mean … these doctors?

In interviews, doctors who were at Bhutto’s side at Rawalpindi General Hospital said they were under extreme pressure not to share details about the nature of the injuries that the opposition leader suffered in an attack here Dec. 27.

“The government took all the medical records right after Ms. Bhutto’s time of death was read out,” said a visibly shaken doctor who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Sweating and putting his head in his hands, he said: “Look, we have been told by the government to stop talking. And a lot of us feel this is a disgrace.”…

“The truth is, there really is no investigation at all,” said Babar Awan, a top official in Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party who said he saw Bhutto’s body after the attack and identified two clearly defined bullet wounds — entry and exit points.

He said that the principal professor of surgery at the hospital, Muhammad Mussadiq Khan, was “extremely nervous, but eventually told me that Bhutto had died of a bullet wound.”

“Why was this man so nervous?” Awan said. “He told me firsthand he was under pressure not to talk about how she died.”

Under Pakistani law the government could have ordered an autopsy over her husband’s objections, but the local police chief refused. As bizarre as the rest of it is the alleged reason for the cover-up, per WaPo: The government didn’t want people to think that security in Rawalpindi, a military garrison, could be breached so brazenly as to place a gunman within 10 feet of Bhutto. Except … we’ve known from the very beginning that the suicide bomber that went off got close to her car. And there have been other bombings in Rawalpindi over the past few months. So what’s it all about, Alfie? The more ham-handed and shifty the government looks, the more culpable Musharraf seems, to such a ludicrous extent that I wonder if he’s being set up too. He’s a canny pol; he’d have to be to survive for this long. If he was going to cover up Bhutto’s assassination, he’d surely do better than this. Indian intelligence reportedly thinks jihadi sympathizers within the Pakistani military are to blame. Maybe they’re trying to sabotage the investigation too, to encourage finger-pointing at Musharraf? Or is he really this crooked and inept?

Either way, he’s trying to save himself now by calling in Scotland Yard. The parliamentary elections, meanwhile, are on for February 18. I leave you with this, from the “too bad to check” file. I think it’s probably nonsense cooked up by her supporters to make Musharraf seem that much more bastard-y, but that just returns us to the question I asked at the end of the last paragraph. He’s not that evil, is he? Dude, he was on the Daily Show!