As Pakistan comes to terms with the deadly attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, local Urdu press highlights the loopholes in security and shifts blame on foreign agencies.
Express Question-mark over future of sports in Pakistan
The Sri Lankan team had agreed to tour Pakistan at a time when most international teams including India, Australia, England, South Africa, New Zealand and the West Indies had refused to play in Pakistan due to security threats. It reinforces the greatness of Sri Lanka, as a country and Sri Lankans as people. As a nation, we are indebted to the Sri Lankan team for giving a tremendous sacrifice in agreeing to tour Pakistan to help restore its tarnished image despite facing the same terror threats that other international sides were prone to.
Various analysts are likening this attack to the November 26 attacks in Mumbai, while some quarters are also hinting at foreign involvement and these indications may be valid and carry some importance, especially since the story about a letter sent to the Punjab Police has emerged. However, fact remains that the reason behind carrying out such a planned attack on a cricket team was to prove those fears right that were posed by other international sides.
In the wake of this attack, the high-ups of all such countries that labeled Pakistan a no-go zone have come out and used the situation to underline their rhetoric. The Indian leadership, which does not let by any chance of maligning Pakistan, has also voiced grave concerns. India has even said that it will not, under any circumstances, send its cricket team to Pakistan for the next four to five years. It then won't be wrong to call this incident a plot to disgrace Pakistan world-over.
On one hand, terrorists are carrying out deadly attacks to wipe out sports events from the country, while on the other hand, politicians and government officials are busy trying to save their positions and playing power games. No one seems to be concerned about where the country is heading, what problems are faced by the people and how to get them out of this situation. Whenever such situations arise, the leadership is quick to 'condemn' the incident, make promises to bring the perpetrators to justice and think their job is done.
The current situation is such that it is openly being called the 1971 of the current decade and international media is busy hatching conspiracies that Pakistan will be broken down into pieces. Among all this, the leadership is acting as if nothing is wrong and it seems as if it is not aware of the facts and even if it is, nothing is being done to improve the state of affairs - all of which may lead to a grand-scale destruction.
Nawa-i-Waqt Conspiracy to destabilise and defame Pakistan
Arriving at the site of the Lahore attack yesterday, Governor Punjab Salman Taseer tried to play down the gravity of the situation by saying that the terrorists to carried out attacks in Mumbai were involved in the Lahore carnage, without any investigative reports to back his claims. It was very clear that the attack on the Sri Lankan team was aimed at forcing the ICC to withdraw Pakistan from list of the 2011 World Cup hosts, plunging the future of sports in Pakistan into darkness, forcing Pakistan into an economic downturn and tarnish Pakistan's image globally - something only India is capable of doing. It is on this basis that several analysts are calling this a rebuff from India for the Mumbai attacks and one purpose could also be to create a rift in the friendly relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The claims of involvement of Tamil Tigers in the attack have been dismissed by the Sri Lankan government, which only leaves out Indian spy agency RAW for being responsible for such a planned attack in Pakistan. However, it is unfortunate that neither President Asif Zardari, nor Prime Minister Gilani or Rehman Malik or Governor Salman Taseer have blamed India for this attack. Meanwhile, Indian officials and media were quick to squarely blame Pakistan and the ISI for the Mumbai attacks.
This incident has brought into light the inefficiency of the police, the FIA and the security arrangements for the Sri Lankan team. It has also made clear that the police reshuffle as a result of the power shift in Punjab provided the terrorists the perfect opportunity to carry out an attack that would otherwise have been impossible.
Jang A grave act of terrorism
While talking to the media, Governor Punjab Salman Taseer said that the terrorists who attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team were well-trained - the same as the Mumbai terrorists.
According to security sources, the attackers were wearing bullet-proof jackets and seemed like foreign nationals. After the attack, the whole area was cordoned off and search for the terrorists was launched. According to a private television channel, four suspects, carrying ammunition, were arrested in the Model Town neighbourhood.
The president, PM's adviser on interior and other officials and politicians denounced the incident said it was a plot to destabilise Pakistan.
The Lahore terror attack was one of its kind in its enormity and design and the area where the attack was carried out is Lahore's busiest, with heavy traffic load on the roads.
Initial investigations suggest that the attack was pre-planned and the terrorists were present in the area well before the convoy arrived. The police officials assigned in the security team for the Sri Lankan side endangered and lost their lives to save them. The attackers were equipped with rocket launchers and hand grenades and were so well trained that they managed to escape the scene immediately after attacking the convoy.
With this schematic attack, terrorists have managed to close the door not only on cricket, but all sport events in Pakistan.