Officials in the Pakistani province of Punjab have withdrawn the game "Pakistan Army Retribution." The move follows outrage over the similarities to a real-life massacre that happened little more than a year ago.
The state-sponsored game, meant to drum up army support, caused a storm on social media for its references to the December 2014 tragedy that saw more than 130 children died at the hands of Taliban militants in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
"Pakistan Army Retribution" puts players in the role of a soldier fending off terrorists in the army-run Peshawar school. Released by the IT board in the province of Punjab, an organization aggressively promoting digital infrastructure in the central state, it was available on Google Play until Monday.
Apologizing on Twitter, the Punjab IT board wrote: "The APS game has been removed. It was in poor taste," referring to the Army Public School where the massacre took place.
"Thank you for highlighting this mistake. We have made the amends."
The game had been online for over a month before the English-language daily Dawn ran an article about it, prompting an online outcry.
"Bizarre and distasteful," wrote one user.
"Play the APS game on Android, kill the bad guys, empathy and good taste in one go," said another.
After conceding that the game was offensive, Punjab IT board chair Umar Saif said that it was simply part of a multi-faceted campaign to support the army and interest in technology and "there were many other activities part of it."
es/kms (AFP, dpa)