Pakistani president and PM just miss hotel bomb blast: Guardian

Pakistani president and PM just miss hotel bomb blast
Last-minute change of mind saved Zardari and Gillani from Marriott carnage as 53 die in explosions
Guardian, September 22, 2008; Anil Dawar and agencies

The new Pakistani president, Asif Ali Zardari, and his prime minister were due to dine at the Marriott hotel on the night it was devastated by a huge truck bomb, it was revealed today.

An interior ministry spokesman, Rehman Malik, said Zardari and Yousaf Raza Gillani had changed their plans at the last minute and decided to meet at the prime minister's house instead.

Malik declined to elaborate on why the decision was made.

"Perhaps the terrorists knew the Marriott was the venue of the dinner for all the leadership where the president, prime minister and speaker would be present," he told reporters.

"At the eleventh hour, the president and prime minister decided the venue would be the prime minister's house. It saved the entire leadership," Malik added.

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