ICC Match Referee Chris Broad has arrived back in England and speaking at a news conference in Manchester, he spoke of his shock, sadness and anger following the terrorist attacks that he was caught up in Lahore.
He went on to express disappointment that the high levels of security that had been promised by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) failed them when he and his colleagues needed it most.
Eight people were killed and several others, including Sri Lankan players, injured as around 14 gunmen attacked a convoy that was transporting the Sri Lankan squad and match officials to the Gaddafi Stadium yesterday (March 3rd).
Broad, the match referee for the game in Lahore, described his shock at what had happened, his sadness that people were injured and killed, paying tribute to the driver of the bus he was in who was killed, and his anger at the level of security provided by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
“I have three emotions going thur my body at the moment,” he said shortly after arriving at Manchester airport. “The first one is shock – shock at the events that have taken place over the last 24 hours. I, like many people, naively thought that there was no way that terrorists would attack cricket; unfortunately that has changed and cricket has to do something about it. We have to try to put that right.
[Will you put that right, Imran Khan?]
“The other emotion is sadness. Clearly sadness for the injured and the killed in this incident, particularly sadness from my point of view for our driver, one of th loveliest men you could have ever wished to see. He always had a smile on his face. He was just doing his job, driving us to the cricket ground and he was murdered by people he didn’t know.
“Clearly there’s sadness for Abdul Sohail Khan, my liaison officer in Pakistan, he was hit by a bullet in the shoulder. And of course, the worst case was Ahsan Raza, our fourh umpire during this Test match who took a bullet. I was behind him on the floor of the van, bullets were flying all around us. I tried to comfort him, placed my hand on his back but he was clearly seriously injured.
Raza has reportedly had surgery on his injuries and is in a critical, but stable condition. Broad then went on to talk of how angry he was that the level of security promised by the PCB was not provided.
“My third emotion is anger. Anger at the Pakistani security forces. I had an inkling before this Test match leg of the tour that something might happen. I certainly didn’t think that this was going to happen but I raised my concerns with the ICC before the tour started. They passed on my concerns to the PCB and the PCB assured me that all security would be taken care of.
“When we were in the van we weren’t aware of what was going on outside. After the incicent we were able to see television pictures – you can quite clearly see the white van we were in next to the ambulance in the middle of this roundabout with terrorists shooting past the van, soemtimes into our van, and not a sign of a policeman anywhere. They had clearly gone, left the scene, and left us to be sitting ducks.
“I am extremely angry that we were promised high-level security and in our hour of need that security vanished.”
Cricket, what cricket?
Pakistan was still trying to absorb the criticism made by the English match referee Chris Broad of the security provided to the Sri Lankan cricket team on March 3, when the two Australian umpires, Simon Taufel and Steve Davis, charged that they were “abandoned” by Pakistani security forces when a dozen gunmen opened fire on them.
Taufel said: “You tell me why supposedly 25 armed commandos were in our convoy and when the team bus got going again we were left on our own. We were isolated, we were left alone, we were unaccounted for, we were not given the same security and the same attention as the playing staff were, I’m angry that when we were in our hour of need we were left on our own”.
There are other questions too which we have to answer as we celebrate our police heroes who laid down their lives but saved the Sri Lankan team from being kidnapped or killed on the spot. They cast doubt on the “intent” behind splitting the two teams in half and thereby halving the security for the Sri Lankans and the umpires who had got ready on time. Those who have been thanking the Providence for the “laziness” of the Pakistani team should pause to see how the world is criticising this mess-up.
The Sri Lankan team manager, Brendan Kuruppu, has brought this up in his remarks too. He said: “On that particular day we had a couple of outriders in front and three or four jeeps in front of us but because the Pakistan team did not come at the same time there was no security back-up from behind our convoy. Generally both teams leave together with the match officials as well in one convoy so we have security cover from all sides of the convoy”.
First, someone plants a crude analysis on CID about how RAW was going to kill the Sri Lankans. The CID swallowed it hook line and sinker. Then the police splits security in half and lets six of its personnel get killed while nothing is known of the action that a detail of over 20 elite force took if it did not run away. What it proves is that even if Pakistan is finally pacified its assurances of security will not be trustworthy for a long time. (Daily Times, 7 March 2009)