Sri Lankan Cricketers Attacked by Gunmen

Posted on March 3, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam
222 Comments
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Adil Najam

In this still-developing story, unknown gunmen opened fire on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus near Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore leaving several security officials dead and several Sri Lankan cricketers were rushed to the hospital.

The News is reporting at least 5 security officials dead while The Times reports that as many as 8 Sri Lankan crickets might have been injured. However, latest reports point out that the injuries to the players are minor, although the shock is deep.

According to an earlier report from the Associated Press:

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — A dozen masked gunmen armed with rifles and rocket launchers attacked a vehicle carrying members of Sri Lanka’s national cricket team Tuesday, wounding at least two players and killing five police officers, officials said.

The attack in Lahore came at a time of unrest in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, both of whom are trying to defeat insurgencies. It was unclear who was behind the assault, but it appeared to have been carefully coordinated. City police chief Haji Habibur Rehman said five policemen died in the shooting and that two players were wounded. A Pakistan Cricket Board security official had earlier said eight players were wounded.

“It was a terrorist attack and the terrorists used rocket launchers, hand grenades and other weapons,” Rehman said, adding that the police were hunting down the attackers who managed to flee. “Our police sacrificed their lives to protect the Sri Lankan team.”
He said one wounded player was hit in the leg while the other received a bullet in the chest.
Sri Lankan team manager Brendon Kruppu said the team’s batsman, Kumar Sangakkara, was among those injured near Gaddafi Stadium ahead of a game. Rehman said 12 masked gunmen participated in the attack. Footage from the scene Tuesday showed the team’s white van with its front window shattered as security officials tried to gain control of the scene in an intersection.
Security concerns have plagued Pakistan for years and some foreign sports teams have refused to play here.

Most of the violence in Pakistan occurs in its northwest regions bordering Afghanistan, where Taliban and al-Qaida militants have established strongholds. Lahore has not been immune from militant violence however, and at least one attack in recent months in the northwest has occurred next to a sports stadium. Sri Lanka appeared on the brink of crushing the Tamil Tiger rebels after more than a quarter century of civil war.

In recent months, government forces have pushed the guerrillas out of much of the de facto state they controlled in the north of the Indian Ocean island nation and trapped them in a small patch of land along the coast. The rebels, who are fighting for an independent state for Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority, are listed as a terror group by the U.S. and EU and are routinely blamed for suicide bombings and other attacks targeting civilians.

The rebels rarely launch attacks outside Sri Lanka, though their most prominent attack — the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by a female suicide bomber — took place at an election rally in India in 1991.

As reader Eidee Man wrote in his comment elsewhere on thsi blog (in alerting us to this news): “Everything is officially going to hell.”

222 responses to “Sri Lankan Cricketers Attacked by Gunmen”

  1. aminpanaawala says:

    Mr Khurram farooqui,you have misinterperated my comments I never even think to say that attackers on srilankan team were righteous people.Such things like suiside attacks and attacks on people are haram in all the religions particularly in Islam.To kill one human being means to kill the entire humanity.please read my comments minutely and apologige.Thanks.MAP

  2. WORLD CITIZEN says:

    THE DISCUSSION AND THE BLAME IS GAME IS FUTILE.

    THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE TRAGEDY MUST BE UNDERSTOOD AND ADDRESSED.

    IS IT INCORRECT INTERPRETATION OF HOLY SCRIPTURES WHICH MAKE PEOPLE BRAND VARIOUS ACTIVITIES AS ANTI RELIGION?

    IS IT A DOGMATIC ASSERTION THAT ONLY MY INTERPRETATION IS CORRECT AND YOURS WRONG?

    IS IT THE INTOLERANT ATTITUDE TO BLAME?

    ARE THE VESTED INTERESTS INVOLVED IN NARCO DOLLARS WHICH ARE INTERESTED IN KEEPING PEOPLE UNDERDEVELOPED TO BLAME? ARE THE GUN TOTTING MILITANTS A PART OF IT ?

    SERIOUS THOUGHT MUST BE GIVEN TO SUCH INTERNAL FACTORS WHILE KEEPING IN MIND THE POSSIBILITY OF DIRTY TRICKS DEPARTMENT OF THE NEIGHBOURS.

    MOST LIKELY FACTORS TO BLAME COULD BE INTERNAL ONES. IS ANY THING BEING DONE TO ADDRESS THEM. FOR IF WE WANT SOMEONE ELSE TO CHANGE, WE MUST CHANGE OURSELVES.

  3. bonobashi says:

    Why I think Pakistan will win through.

    A wise man interviewed on another blog said this:

    The real war in Pakistan now is the war on the middle class. If the elite wins it, Pakistan has no hope. But this is not a war that will be lost or won in weeks or months. And the elite hasn’t even begun to invest in the weapons that will decide this war. Blogs, social networks and knowledge.

    Issues in Pakistan that are being discussed on blogs like All Things Pakistan, Grand Trunk Road and Five Rupees today are going to occupy the heart of public policy within the next decade. And none of the protagonists of these blogs (or thier readers) qualify as elite, or as poor. I know it won’t fly in PolSci 101, but that’s cool. No one’s looking. There is a small, and increasingly important middle class in Pakistan. And the elite don’t like them. They want them to disappear. Immigrate to Australia or Canada in the best case scenario, and actually physically disappear in the worst. Hence the war on the middle class.

    So hang in there, guys, ladies; we’re rooting for you.

    @ Watan Aziz

    Cornelia, the mother of Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, was once asked by a top-lofty Roman matron about her jewels, since she was notably seen without any. She pointed to her sons, and said,”These are my jewels.”

    Lucky Pakistan.

  4. Gorki says:

    @ Adnan Ahmad: The work of a moderator is usually hard but it must be especially so on a blog such as this where India-Pakistan issues often threaten to crowd out meaningful discussion.
    That ATP can avoid these pitfalls and still present a real time three dimensional image of the every day Pakistan is a tribute to the vision and the diligence of the moderators.
    You have rightly guessed that people like me love this post as something dear, yet I am mindful of the fact that being a visitor, I have to treat this as a privilege, with respect and mindful of the aims of the moderators and owners of this blog.
    I agree with you that, India Pakistan relationship is very complex and often becomes all the more so when people from across the border convey admiration of another as a persons while negating their nationality; such admiration even if honest, somehow diminishes the object of affection.

    Personally, I respect Pakistan the nation, and Pakistanis, the people. More than anything, I wish its people a peaceful, prosperous society, where the rule of law runs supreme. Having said that; I see no contradiction like Bonbashi, in saying that I love Pakistan and also my adopted homeland of United States while being a cultural Indian at heart. Moreover people like you, Owais Mughal, Adil Najam and all others at the ATP transcend national boundaries and are the natural allies of humanists not only in South Asia but the whole world over.

    @ Bonobashi, I feel a little self conscious praising another Indian while I am a guest myself in this blog but am proud of your elegant way of stating your position since it is similar to my own although, I must admit that I, being a Punjabi, will always remain partial to Pakistan over other nations of the world.
    You see being a Punjabi, the lyrics of Muni Begum posted here in a recent post or the soulful strains of Attaulah Khan

  5. Bloody Civilian says:

    Bonobashi

    One of the factors in bringing around the renewed support for democracy as a people’s movement, rallying around the movement for the restoration of judiciary, was India. While our middle and lower middle classes were learning a bit about democracy and basics of rule of law, through the newly spawning private TV channels, getting used to seeing things that in the past would never have been shown or talked about, they also, from the corner of their eye, saw India making impressive economic progress. And without any one spelling it out to them, they for themselves worked it out, that depsite starting from similar roots in 1947, despite the many shared aspects of culture, the difference that was ultimately holding Pakistan back was dictatorship.

    Pakistanis realised that India has a vibrant democracy. I don’t know how many Pakistanis realise that democracy is a messy business. As is India’s enviably evolving democracy. Two steps forward, one step back. Will we in Pakistan despair of our present civilian leaders and their most despicable shinanigans and forgot all that we learnt in the past two years and again welcome another military dictator? I sincerely hope not.

    Again, I don’t know how many Pakistanis know that India’s is the most respected common law system in all of Asia. Yet, almost all Pakistanis respected what (Late) Mr Karkare did, and was able to do in the Indian system. Those who verbally attacked Mr Karkare and his work, showed that Indian democracy and justice system, with its faults, works despite these shallow people. The Pakistani legal faternity cannot but know the stature that the Indian judiciary has reached, since they frequently find themselves quoting Indian legal precedent in their daily work, and cannot but admire the likes of H.M.Seervai and Soli Sorabji.

    We see Indian muslims, all other minorities, women and Dalits, trying to organise themselves, democratically, some better than others, to work for their rights within that system. They may have a long way to go yet. They have legitimate anxieties and grievances. But they have their hopes too. All within the Indian democracy.

    Even Kashmir has at least had an election recently. Lets hope the people of Kashmir can find peace. Our problems in Pakistan, used to be due to dictatorship, but to that has been added the fallout of the final battle of the Cold War in Afghnistan and its continuing aftermath. Things are detoriating very worryingly. That worry, I suspect, was part of the reason you and Gorki ended up visiting ATP. To know that there must be millions like you and Gorki in India, who have not become part of Pakistaniat like you two so kindly have, gives us hope. I sincerely hope that the peoples of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India can live in peace, within and without, and I wish each prosperity. I hope, there are a few like you two in Pakistan too. In fact, I am sure there are. I hope we can inspire each other, and be stronger than those who would rather demonise the other and in the process distort themselves.

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