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Lahore attack attempt to precipitate

DIPLOMATIC CRISIS

**Was it a plan to take cricketers hostage?

**Attempt to bargain with India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka?

Defence Analysts and intelligence services of South Asia are working hard to ascertain whether last Tuesday’s terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore was part of a larger plan to create a diplomatic crisis among South Asian nations.

The initial reaction of Pakistani officials was that the attack had the same hallmark as the Mumbai terror attack last November, for which Pakistan based terrorists are being blamed by India. On the other hand, certain sections of the media in Pakistan are hinting that terrorists based in India may have caused the attack.

Meanwhile, the United States while condemning the attack described it as an attack on positive relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Director, Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) Amir Rana in an exclusive interview with Daily News said that investigators are trying to establish whether the terrorists had any external links.

Attention has also being focused on Lakshar- e- Tayyiba (LeT) in view of its previously known connections with the LTTE. Defence analysts are not lightly discarding the theory put forward in an AP news report that the terrorists were planning to hijack the Sri Lankan cricket team.

The use of heavy arms and ammunition, sophisticated communication equipment and high energy drinks by the attackers point to the possibility of a failed hostage drama, it said.

This has led to speculation whether the LTTE in search for a life-line was using the Lahore terrorists to kidnap the cricketers and bargain with the Government for a ceasefire or whether the terrorists were intending to bargain with India or Pakistan to get the release of any of their arrested leaders. Any one of these scenarios would have precipitated a diplomatic crisis involving India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka whose repercussions would have spread to the entire South Asian region.

 

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