Indian Involvement Suspected
Terror struck at the heart of cricket when masked gunmen attacked the bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
Sources within the security establishment had been aware of an imminent attack being planned by Research & Analysis Wing – India’s premier intelligence agency.
“We had been picking up chatter and had received important information from the R&AW terrorists arrested in recent weeks. An attack was imminent. We had prepared for any eventuality and Alhamdolillah we were able to avert a major catastrophe. The security team fought bravely”, said a source on condition of anonymity.
Five cricketers, including Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, and his deputy Kumar Sangakkara, received minor injuries. The attack left five security men dead.
Sports producer Gavin Scovell said security teams responded quickly.
“The guards were brilliant. They weren’t panicking. They were very calm,” Scovell said. “It must have been a terrifying experience, but they handled it well.”
Indian politicians and diplomats have been campaigning hard to have Pakistan declared a terrorist state, in recent weeks. The Indian Cricket Board also made its displeasure known at Sri Lanka’s decision to tour Pakistan, after India pulled out of the tour in the wake of Mumbai attacks.
The attack in Lahore is designed to damage the strong relations Pakistan shares with Sri Lanka. Pakistan has excellent relations with Sri Lanka and has given training and supplied arms to the Sri Lankan military fighting the Indian-backed Tamil Tiger rebels.
The attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers comes just a day after Sri Lankan state media published photographs and videos of Indian ministers including MDMK chief Vaiko, with LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran.
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This is declaration of war by India: Nabil Gabol
Minister of State Nabil Ahmed Gabol said India is behind the attack on Sri Lanka’s cricket team in Lahore on Tuesday, saying the attackers had crossed into Pakistan from India.
“The evidence which we have got shows that these terrorists entered from across the border from India,” Gabol told Geo News.
“This was a conspiracy to defame Pakistan internationally. This incident took place in reaction to 26/11,” he said. It is a declaration of open war on Pakistan by India,” said the minister.