Pakistanis shocked as Sri Lankan Cricket Team is ambushed in Lahore
An ambush targeting the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore earlier this morning has literally sent waves of disbelief and shock across Pakistan. Citizens of Lahore are specifically terrified at the extent of sophisticated weaponry used by terrorists in an incident that caused unprecedented damage to the country’s image and its cricketing future.
On its way to Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium for the second test match in series, the convoy carrying Sri Lankan players in a bus was brutally attacked by almost twelve gunmen as it passed through the Liberty Roundabout. The bus was miraculously shielded from about two rocket attacks and serious damage was avoided as Police Security escorts forcefully retaliated twenty-five minutes of heavy gunfire. This, however, did not prevent seven precious lives, including those of five policemen, from being lost while four policemen, five Sri Lankan cricketers, their assistant coach, and a Pakistani umpire sustained injuries. During this mayhem, the team was immediately driven to safety at the Stadium put under heavy guard while two of the injured players were shifted to Services Hospital.
According to the police authorities, about twelve terrorists armed with very sophisticated weapons including rocket launchers, hand grenades, Kalashnikovs, mousers and suicide jackets arrived at the scene in rickshaws and attacked the convoy, exactly when it was turning from Main Boulevard to Gadaffi Stadium, from seven directions according to a highly planned strategy.
Television footage showed all attackers making an astonishing escape after committing this heinous activity, totally unscathed, from one of city’s most important commercial centers in broad daylight. Many analysts are calling it an unparallel security lapse on behalf of the intelligence agencies and local authorities.
The only good news is that all injured cricketers and their assistant coach are stable, out of danger and will be airlifted from Gadaffi Stadium by Pakistan Air Force helicopters to the airport from where they will be safely flown back to Colombo very soon. Sri Lankan foreign minister is on his way to Pakistan to analyze the situation on ground.
In 2008, due to the deteriorating security situation and political instability in the country, Australia was the first team to cancel its tour of Pakistan. Then security concerns with respect to safety of visiting players saw Pakistan’s hopes of hosting the second most prestigious cricketing event, Champions Trophy 2008, coming to an end followed by a consecutive cancellation of India’s highly awaited tour of Pakistan earlier this year. After today’s shocking events Pakistan may see its cricketing image plunging to extreme darkness as we might not have any visitors for quite a long time now.
Forces behind a crime of this magnitude cannot be taken easily as evidence from the sophistication of weaponry and planning used by the attackers suggests that these terrorists were no ordinary ones. There has to be a comprehensive investigation of a possible internal or external involvement and it has to be conducted as early as possible to prevent future recurrences.
We are waiting and watching how the unconcerned politicians are waging a war against the will of common man who does not want anything but security, justice, and only the bare necessities of life at affordable rates. They seem to have little concern with the damage and anarchy their confrontational politics can bring to the already suffering fabric of Pakistani society.