Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan swapped her walking stick for a cricket bat over the weekend, prompting thoughts to return to her conspicuous foot injury.
Like off-spinner Saeed Ajmal’s mystery delivery to English batsmen, Awan’s injury has proved baffling and elusive to the Pakistani population.
The nation had almost forgotten about Awan’s spot of bother, but on Sunday, when inaugurating the Benazir Bhutto Women’s Cricket Tournament in Lahore, the brave minister’s large walking brace was evident to all as she played at some easy-paced deliveries at the Gadaffi stadium. The footage aired on TV channels and has now been immortalised on YouTube.
The doctor-turned-politician is still recovering from an unconfirmed accident which left her with a foot fracture. Her own party colleagues have accused Awan of using the injury as an excuse for not defending the government as robustly as would be expected of an information minister. She even tendered her resignation after mounting pressure, but withdrew after calming down.
The cause of the fracture is unknown. Several versions have circulated.
One story reported in the media on December 8, a day after the injury was sustained, is that her official car had an accident while she was on the way to Islamabad from Sialkot, her hometown.
The second version, which emerged from her staff, is that Awan was in her personal car on the way to school function when the accident happened. According to this version of events, her driver also sustained injuries and the minister repaired her car at her own expense.
Speculation does not end here. The third account blames a high-heeled shoe. Apparently Awan slipped in her house and consequently injured her right foot. The minister walked with the prime minister to the Supreme Court on January 19 with a walking stick in her right hand. This has added to the confusion, as she has previously been seen with the stick in her left hand.
The minister has yet to offer her side of the story.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2012.