Shootout in Lahore

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Shahrukh Khan

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Shootout in Lahore

Sri Lankan cricketers injured in terror attack

Cricinfo staff

March 3, 2009



Security guards inspect a damaged vehicle after the firing in Lahore © AFP




Pakistan's status as an international sporting venue has come under doubt after masked terrorists attacked the team bus carrying Sri Lanka's cricketers to the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore on Tuesday morning. Five cricketers, including Mahela Jayawardene, the captain, and Kumar Sangakkara, his deputy, received minor injuries. Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paravitarana were also injured in the attack which killed six security men and two civilians.

The ongoing Lahore Test has been called off and the tour cancelled. Sri Lanka's cricketers were evacuated from Gaddafi stadium and taken to a nearby airbase from where they are to fly back to Colombo.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka's president, condemned the "cowardly terrorist attack" and asked foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama to fly to Pakistan to oversee the evacuation of the Sri Lankan players.

There have been terror strikes on the sidelines of cricket, but this is the first time players have been directly targeted. The attack is perhaps the first major strike against an international sporting team since Palestinian militants attacked Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.


Security concerns in Pakistan

September 2001- New Zealand decide not to tour Pakistan following the September 11 attacks. West Indies and Australia then decide to move their games in Pakistan scheduled for later in the year to neutral venues in Colombo and Sharjah.
May 2002 - New Zealand cancel their tour of Pakistan after a bomb blast outside Karachi's Sheraton Hotel where they were staying.
March 2008 - Australia postpone their tour of Pakistan slated for the end of March as a result of security concerns.The decision was taken in the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto's assasination in December 2007.
August 2008 - Citing security concerns, five out of eight member nations of the ICC choose not to send their teams to Pakistan for the Champions Trophy scheduled for September the same year. As a result, the tournament is postponed until October 2009.
October 2008 - West Indies call off a proposed tour of Pakistan scheduled for November citing security concerns, a week after the West Indies Women had cancelled the Pakistan leg of their Asian tour.
December 2008 - The BCCI call off India's scheduled tour of Pakistan in 2009 following a directive from the government.
December 2008 - The PCB confirm that Sri Lanka will tour Pakistan after India decided not to after the Mumbai terror attack.
February 2009 - The ICC decide not to stage the 2009 Champions Trophy in Pakistan after some of the members expressed reservations about touring the country.




David Morgan, the president of the ICC, described Pakistan as "a very dangerous place" at present. Speaking about the World Cup, he said: "Things will have to change dramatically in Pakistan in my opinion if any of the games are to be staged there."I think that international cricket in Pakistan is out of the question until there is a very significant change, a regime change I guess."

The Sri Lanka cricketers were on their way to the Gaddafi stadium when their bus was attacked by 12 armed terrorists near Liberty market, Habibur Rehman, chief commissioner of police, said. A grenade was also thrown at the bus but it missed.

"The bus came under attack as we were driving to the stadium, the gunmen targeted the wheels of the bus first and then the bus," Mahela Jayawardene said. "We all dived to the floor to take cover. About five players have been injured and also Paul Farbrace [a member of the support staff]…"

Describing the injuries, Sangakkara told CNN-IBN: "Thilan [Samaraweera] has a shrapnel wound in his leg, but he is fine. [Tharanga] Paranavitana had shrapnel in his chest, but thank God it wasn't very deep and just on the surface.

"I had shrapnel injuries in my shoulder, but they have all been removed and I'm okay now. Ajantha [Mendis] had shrapnel in his neck and scalp, but he too has had medical attention and is fine. Everyone else is perfectly all right."

The reserve umpire Ahsan Raza was also injured in the attack. Nadeem Ghauri, the TV umpire, who was travelling in a bus behind the Sri Lanka team coach said the firing continued for some time. Umpire Steve Davis, who was on the team bus, called the terrorist attack "terrible". "I'm lost for words," he said.

Speaking on Geo TV, Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former Pakistan captain, said: "This is the first time that a cricket team has been seriously targeted... Pakistan's image will be hit and only time will tell how much damage has been done to Pakistan cricket. The World Cup too might be affected... no country would want to come now to Pakistan... I am worried where Pakistan will get a chance to play, not only in Pakistan but outside as well. This is all so sad."

In Napier, the New Zealand and Indian teams donned black arm bands midway through their one-day cricket match as a mark of respect for the Sri Lankan cricketers.

The Indian cricket board, which had called off a scheduled tour of Pakistan last December, expressed its sorrow over the attack. "We pray for the speedy recovery of the injured cricketers, and sympathise with their families and compatriots," BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan said in New Delhi.

Intikhab Alam, the Pakistan coach, said his team escaped the attack because "the Sri Lankan team left [the hotel] five minutes before us".

The Sri Lankan team only stepped in after the Indian government had barred the Indian team from touring Pakistan after the terror attack in Mumbai.

Posted 03 Mar 2009

i Know its sport topic..let's just discuss this here..Its Terrible..I condemn attack on Srilankan Players
Posted 03 Mar 2009

~Fragi~ says
its *******


no other comments
Posted 03 Mar 2009











Posted 03 Mar 2009

They wants to prove that pak is not a safe country
Posted 03 Mar 2009

~Fragi~ says
pak may face 21 years ban fromm icc
Posted 03 Mar 2009

~Fragi~ said:

pak may face 21 years ban fromm icc



Oh nooooooooooo
Posted 03 Mar 2009

sweetie says
rediculous
n yeah i heard on ARY news k pak ban ho sakta hae
absolutely terrible
Posted 03 Mar 2009

ALLAH na karey aisa ho
Posted 03 Mar 2009

~Fragi~ said:

pak may face 21 years ban fromm icc



WTF!!!

no other comments
Posted 03 Mar 2009

Shahrukh Khan said:

ALLAH na karey aisa ho



i agrreee with u srk
Posted 03 Mar 2009

shaista says

jinhon ne kia unko to Allah ka azaab aaye. Woh to jannat ki talaash main nikalte hain. Dozakh se kaam lena parega.
Pata nahin yeh loog aise kyon karte hain. woh insaan nahin hain.
Terrible what happened. Lekin shukkar hai ke Sri Lanka ki team me se koi shaheed nahin ho gaya. It's terrible to say, but true.
Pakistan bann na bhi ho to pakistan ka future andhere main hi dikhai de raha hai.
Dua karo ke Allah humare pyare Pakistan ko bachaye.

Posted 03 Mar 2009

yeh kia ho raha hae Pak mae?...
Posted 03 Mar 2009

London_Girl said:

yeh kia ho raha hae Pak mae?...



koi aisa law aye jisse dushman kabhi agey na bhar sakey
Posted 04 Mar 2009

Imran slams 'shameful' security for Lanka team
Updated at: 0342 PST, Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Imran slams LONDON: Chairman Tehrik-e-Insaaf and former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan told foreign media on Tuesday the ambush on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore was one of the worst security lapse ever seen in his country.

Khan, who retired from cricket in 1992 and now heads his own political party Tehrik-e-Insaaf, said the security provided to the team was less than that provided to most Pakistani ministers, branding it "completely shameful".

"I think this was one of the worst security failures in Pakistan," he told media.

"The Pakistan government guaranteed the Sri Lankan cricket team that they would provide them security, and to see the type of security provided to the Sri Lankan cricket team was completely shameful."

"It certainly is a disaster for Pakistan sport but I think much more, I think this was targeted at Pakistan's economy and destabilising the country.” he added.

Eight people were killed and seven players wounded when up to 12 gunmen attacked the squad's convoy near the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore with rockets, hand grenades and automatic weapons, police said.
Posted 04 Mar 2009

javad says
MULK DUSHMAN yehi chahty hen k pakistan alag ho jaye.

magar i think k icc ban nahi kr raha magar no more cricket in pakistan for atleast 5 years...


Posted 04 Mar 2009

oodbalow says
it was a major security lapse so yeh to hona he tha

they already had an intelligence report but what they did? NOTHING so yeh to hona he tha
Posted 04 Mar 2009

~CHANDNI~ says
hamery Liberty may howa

boht dehshat kasam say
ajj b koi bahir nahi ja raha
Posted 04 Mar 2009

sun_shine says
Assalam O Alaikum

*Inna Lilahi Wa Ina Elaihi Raj'eoun

*Very Sad News
Its Time For Govt to take Strick Actions
Atleast Some Actions...!
Posted 04 Mar 2009

hootout in Lahore

'I felt a bullet fizz past my ear'

When you have been through what we have experienced, when you have been targeted by terrorists yourself and been so fortunate to escape, it changes your thinking.



Kumar Sangakkara

March 4, 2009

     
'Our families will never feel the same about us leaving to play in Pakistan' © AFP


As I dictate this article we are preparing to fly home. It's been a long day and we can't wait to return home to our families. We were shaken badly, obviously. Pakistan has a reputation for being unstable in the recent past, but we never expected to be caught up in something like this. I am still shocked that a sports team could be targeted in this manner.

We had always felt pretty safe in Pakistan, to be honest. It shows how naïve we were. We realise now that sports people and cricketers are not above being attacked. All the talk that "no one would target cricketers" seems so hollow now. Far from being untouchable, we are now prize targets for extremists. That's an uncomfortable reality we have to come to terms with.

Tuesday started as just another day in Lahore: a morning report to the fitness trainer to check our hydration levels, a quick breakfast and cup of coffee and an 8.30am departure to the ground. We were all looking forward to the third day's play and trying to win the series. Our chief concern was how to wheedle out 19 Pakistan wickets on another true batting pitch.

Our team bus left with three to four police cars in a convoy with around 12 policeman and security officers, including motorbike outriders. Along the route road junctions were cleared and side roads closed to ensure we passed through the traffic easily. It was standard security for teams in this region and we had no worries as we travelled to the stadium.

The bus was full of the normal banter. Players traded stories, mostly about Lahore shopping, and cracked jokes. Others chatted about the cricket and the crucial first session. Then, as we approached the large roundabout before the Gaddafi Stadium, we suddenly heard a noise like a firecracker. The bus came to a halt and some of the guys jumped out of their seats to see what was happening. Then came the shout: "They are shooting at us!"

From the front I heard the screams to "get down, get down" and we all hit the deck. Within seconds we are all sprawled along the floor, lying on top of each other and taking shelter below the seats. The gunfire became louder, we heard explosions (which I understand now were hand grenades) and bullets started to flash through the bus.

I was sitting next to Thilan Samaraweera and close to the young Tharanga Paranavitana. For some reason I moved my head to get a better view and a split second later I felt a bullet fizz past my ear into the vacant seat. Fortunately, as a team, we remained quite calm. No one panicked. After what must have been two minutes standing still, we urged the driver to make a run for the stadium just a few hundred metres away: "Go, go, go" we shouted.

The truth is we owe our lives to the courageous Mohammad Khalil, the driver. I will forever be grateful to him. The tyres of the bus had been shot out and he was in grave personal danger, exposed to gunfire at the front of the bus. But he was hell-bent on getting us to safety and, somehow, he got us moving again. Had Khalil not acted with such courage and presence of mind most of us would have been killed.

Standing still next to the roundabout we were sitting ducks for the 12 gunmen. We only found out afterwards that a rocket launcher just missed us as we began moving and turned for the stadium gates, the rocket blowing up an electricity pylon. Khalil saw a hand grenade tossed at us that failed to explode. Someone must have been looking over us because right now it seems a miracle we survived.

As we moved towards the stadium, Tharanga announced he was hit as he sat up holding his chest. He collapsed onto his seat and I feared the worst. Incredibly, the bullet hit his sternum at such an angle that it did not penetrate. He was fine. Shortly afterwards Thilan complained of a numbness in his leg, which we later found out was a bullet wound.

Thilan and Tharanga were the worst hit. Just before reaching safety I felt a dull ache in my shoulder. Shards of metal, shrapnel, were lodged in the muscle. After being quickly evacuated to the dressing room the paramedics attended to those with minor wounds. My cuts were cleaned. Ajantha Mendis had several shards of metal removed from his head and neck after his hair was shaved off. Paul Farbrace, our assistant coach, had a large piece of shrapnel removed from his arm. Mahela [Jayawardene] had a minor cut to his ankle. After a while we started to calm down, and the phones started ringing.

When the tour was first announced while we were playing in Bangladesh, we had discussed security concerns with the Sri Lanka cricket board. Our own board had originally asked for a longer tour, asking for two extra ODIs, but we requested a shortened tour, an independent assessment of the security situation, some security guarantees, and proper insurance covering terrorist attacks.
                    

Standing still next to the roundabout we were sitting ducks for the 12 gunmen. We only found out afterwards that a rocket launcher just missed us as we began moving and turned for the stadium gates, the rocket blowing up an electricity pylon. Khalil saw a hand grenade tossed at us that failed to explode. Someone must have been looking over us because right now it seems a miracle we survived

             

We were promised "Head of State" security and we were satisfied with this. We also wanted to play cricket in Pakistan. Nevertheless, with hindsight, we probably underestimated the security threat. In future, we need to very seriously consider how best to better tackle the issue of security in a new post-Lahore reality. We need to consider a more centralised and independent system for assessing security and a more open sharing of security information, not just between boards but with FICA and the players.

From a Pakistan perspective, it is tragic this has happened. Pakistan is a great country with a strong cricket tradition and very hospitable people. We like playing cricket here, but the presence of a small minority pursuing their own agendas at any cost will surely prevent tours for the foreseeable future. I sincerely hope that a solution can be found with time but assume Pakistan will first need a neutral venue solution for their home games.

Will I go back? When you have been through what we have experienced, when you have been targeted by terrorists yourself and been so fortunate to escape, it changes your thinking. It is a big question which cannot be answered now. I suspect, too, for us it can only be answered as an individual. Our families will never feel the same about us leaving to play in Pakistan. That is sad - for Pakistan and world cricket.
Posted 04 Mar 2009

sun_shine says

*As i return back
i'll Read this
InshAllah...!
Posted 04 Mar 2009

Bohat dukh ho raha hai..Driver ki poori jaan lagaye players ko bachane ke liye..hats off to him..Police ne apni jaanein di aur shaheed ho gayee.Hats off too them 2
Posted 04 Mar 2009

oodbalow says
@ Shahrukh Khan

my lovely brother SRK itna dukh na feel karo bhai outdated weapons se police waley apni jaan na detey to kia terrorists ki jaan letey??

they tried their very best to escape but the fully trained terrorists with better weapons didn't give them a chance

btw as i always used to say "sach hameesha karwa hota hai"
Posted 04 Mar 2009

Asian says
its all pollitics

someone creates terrorism in order to create panic and stop pakistan from advancing

im very skeptical about the attackers being of Pakistani orgin
Posted 04 Mar 2009

Shahrukh Khan said:

London_Girl said:

yeh kia ho raha hae Pak mae?...



koi aisa law aye jisse dushman kabhi agey na bhar sakey


Ameen.. magar aisa kab hoga...
Posted 04 Mar 2009

London_Girl said:

Shahrukh Khan said:

London_Girl said:

yeh kia ho raha hae Pak mae?...



koi aisa law aye jisse dushman kabhi agey na bhar sakey


Ameen.. magar aisa kab hoga...


Jab tak zardari jesa so called president hai tu mushkil hai
Posted 04 Mar 2009

sun_shine says
Shahrukh Khan said:

hootout in Lahore

'I felt a bullet fizz past my ear'

When you have been through what we have experienced, when you have been targeted by terrorists yourself and been so fortunate to escape, it changes your thinking.



Kumar Sangakkara

March 4, 2009

     
'Our families will never feel the same about us leaving to play in Pakistan' © AFP


As I dictate this article we are preparing to fly home. It's been a long day and we can't wait to return home to our families. We were shaken badly, obviously. Pakistan has a reputation for being unstable in the recent past, but we never expected to be caught up in something like this. I am still shocked that a sports team could be targeted in this manner.

We had always felt pretty safe in Pakistan, to be honest. It shows how naïve we were. We realise now that sports people and cricketers are not above being attacked. All the talk that "no one would target cricketers" seems so hollow now. Far from being untouchable, we are now prize targets for extremists. That's an uncomfortable reality we have to come to terms with.

Tuesday started as just another day in Lahore: a morning report to the fitness trainer to check our hydration levels, a quick breakfast and cup of coffee and an 8.30am departure to the ground. We were all looking forward to the third day's play and trying to win the series. Our chief concern was how to wheedle out 19 Pakistan wickets on another true batting pitch.

Our team bus left with three to four police cars in a convoy with around 12 policeman and security officers, including motorbike outriders. Along the route road junctions were cleared and side roads closed to ensure we passed through the traffic easily. It was standard security for teams in this region and we had no worries as we travelled to the stadium.

The bus was full of the normal banter. Players traded stories, mostly about Lahore shopping, and cracked jokes. Others chatted about the cricket and the crucial first session. Then, as we approached the large roundabout before the Gaddafi Stadium, we suddenly heard a noise like a firecracker. The bus came to a halt and some of the guys jumped out of their seats to see what was happening. Then came the shout: "They are shooting at us!"

From the front I heard the screams to "get down, get down" and we all hit the deck. Within seconds we are all sprawled along the floor, lying on top of each other and taking shelter below the seats. The gunfire became louder, we heard explosions (which I understand now were hand grenades) and bullets started to flash through the bus.

I was sitting next to Thilan Samaraweera and close to the young Tharanga Paranavitana. For some reason I moved my head to get a better view and a split second later I felt a bullet fizz past my ear into the vacant seat. Fortunately, as a team, we remained quite calm. No one panicked. After what must have been two minutes standing still, we urged the driver to make a run for the stadium just a few hundred metres away: "Go, go, go" we shouted.

The truth is we owe our lives to the courageous Mohammad Khalil, the driver. I will forever be grateful to him. The tyres of the bus had been shot out and he was in grave personal danger, exposed to gunfire at the front of the bus. But he was hell-bent on getting us to safety and, somehow, he got us moving again. Had Khalil not acted with such courage and presence of mind most of us would have been killed.

Standing still next to the roundabout we were sitting ducks for the 12 gunmen. We only found out afterwards that a rocket launcher just missed us as we began moving and turned for the stadium gates, the rocket blowing up an electricity pylon. Khalil saw a hand grenade tossed at us that failed to explode. Someone must have been looking over us because right now it seems a miracle we survived.

As we moved towards the stadium, Tharanga announced he was hit as he sat up holding his chest. He collapsed onto his seat and I feared the worst. Incredibly, the bullet hit his sternum at such an angle that it did not penetrate. He was fine. Shortly afterwards Thilan complained of a numbness in his leg, which we later found out was a bullet wound.

Thilan and Tharanga were the worst hit. Just before reaching safety I felt a dull ache in my shoulder. Shards of metal, shrapnel, were lodged in the muscle. After being quickly evacuated to the dressing room the paramedics attended to those with minor wounds. My cuts were cleaned. Ajantha Mendis had several shards of metal removed from his head and neck after his hair was shaved off. Paul Farbrace, our assistant coach, had a large piece of shrapnel removed from his arm. Mahela [Jayawardene] had a minor cut to his ankle. After a while we started to calm down, and the phones started ringing.

When the tour was first announced while we were playing in Bangladesh, we had discussed security concerns with the Sri Lanka cricket board. Our own board had originally asked for a longer tour, asking for two extra ODIs, but we requested a shortened tour, an independent assessment of the security situation, some security guarantees, and proper insurance covering terrorist attacks.
                      
   
Standing still next to the roundabout we were sitting ducks for the 12 gunmen. We only found out afterwards that a rocket launcher just missed us as we began moving and turned for the stadium gates, the rocket blowing up an electricity pylon. Khalil saw a hand grenade tossed at us that failed to explode. Someone must have been looking over us because right now it seems a miracle we survived

               

We were promised "Head of State" security and we were satisfied with this. We also wanted to play cricket in Pakistan. Nevertheless, with hindsight, we probably underestimated the security threat. In future, we need to very seriously consider how best to better tackle the issue of security in a new post-Lahore reality. We need to consider a more centralised and independent system for assessing security and a more open sharing of security information, not just between boards but with FICA and the players.

From a Pakistan perspective, it is tragic this has happened. Pakistan is a great country with a strong cricket tradition and very hospitable people. We like playing cricket here, but the presence of a small minority pursuing their own agendas at any cost will surely prevent tours for the foreseeable future. I sincerely hope that a solution can be found with time but assume Pakistan will first need a neutral venue solution for their home games.

Will I go back? When you have been through what we have experienced, when you have been targeted by terrorists yourself and been so fortunate to escape, it changes your thinking. It is a big question which cannot be answered now. I suspect, too, for us it can only be answered as an individual. Our families will never feel the same about us leaving to play in Pakistan. That is sad - for Pakistan and world cricket.




*MashAllah
Khush Kismat thay yeh sab K inko Dobara Zindagi Mili
Wishing them all The best...!
Posted 05 Mar 2009

Asian says
british media reporting crap as usal

ker rahay hai Pakistani police attacks ke peechay hai
Posted 05 Mar 2009

Asian said:

british media reporting crap as usal

ker rahay hai Pakistani police attacks ke peechay hai



Police sacrifice their lives for them and they r blaming Police
Posted 05 Mar 2009

oodbalow says
Shahrukh Khan said:

Asian said:

british media reporting crap as usal

ker rahay hai Pakistani police attacks ke peechay hai



Police sacrifice their lives for them and they r blaming Police


bhaiyya SRK aap k haath main bhi aik "tamancha" pakra k aap ko rocket launchers, hand grenades aur kalashnikovs k saamney bhaij detey hain phir hum bhi kaheen ge k SRK sacrificed his life
Police bechari ko to bhagney ka mooqa bhi nahi milla so sacrifice to hona he tha
Posted 05 Mar 2009

sun_shine says
*May be its a Political plan or something else.
Posted 05 Mar 2009

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