The covering of the coffin of former Iraqi president Jalal Talabani with Iraqi Kurdistan’s flag has sparked harsh criticism particularly in Baghdad with many of the Iraqi lawmakers saying the coffin should have been covered with Iraqi flag.
One of the leaders of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan has shed more lights on the controversy created on the sidelines of the funeral ceremony held for Talabani.
A’la Talabani from PUK said the decision to cover the coffin with Kurdistan flag was taken by the Protocol Office of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
“The family of Talabani as well as the political office of the PUK had called for covering the coffin with an Iraqi flag,” said A’la Talabani in a statement, according to a Farsi report by Alef news website.
“I arrived in Sulaymaniyah with the same plane carrying the coffin of late Talabani and his family members. Upon our arrival, the national anthem of Iraq was played in the Sulaymaniyah airport to pay respect to him. The vehicle carrying the coffin was also covered with an Iraqi flag. A nephew of late Talabani boarded our plane with an Iraqi flag at hand and delivered the flag to a protocol official to cover the coffin with it but to our surprise, after getting off the plane, we saw the coffin is covered with Kurdistan’s flag,” she said.
A’la Talabani went on saying when she asked the officials in charge about the change, they replied, this is KRG’s decision as the main organizer of the funeral procession.
Jalal Talabani, a former Iraqi president as well as the founder of PUK, died on Tuesday at the age of 83 in Germany. His funeral procession was held on Friday in Sulaymaniyah. The funeral was attended by Iraqi President Fuad Masum, Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as well as a number of other officials.