Footage raises new questions about Pakistan attack
Pakistan came under new criticism about its security forces Thursday
as dramatic footage emerged of the cricket attackers making a leisurely
getaway from the scene of their deadly assault.
The images of the gunmen calmly walking off, without police or
security forces chasing them, will add to speculation swirling around
Tuesday’s brazen daytime attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team that left
eight people dead.
Pakistan is steeped in political violence, and suspicion has fallen
mainly on Islamic militants linked to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Police
have brought in around two dozen people for questioning but so far have
Up to 12 men attacked the convoy of officials, coaches and players,
firing automatic weapons, grenades and a rocket launcher as the vehicles
approached the cricket ground in the city of Lahore. The attackers fled
without a trace.
The new footage, captured by closed-circuit cameras, showed two
suspects wearing rucksacks and ambling down the road, apparently
untroubled after the carnage took place. They then jump on motorbikes
and speed off.
“We are doing our best to unravel the conspiracy,” Lahore police
chief Habib-ur Rehman told AFP. Police released sketches of four
suspects but have made no breakthrough in the case. No one has claimed
responsibility for the assault, which killed six police and two
civilians, and wounded 19 people.
Pakistan lawmakers accused the government of a “serious security
lapse” and highlighted reports that the authorities were warned of a
The Senate foreign relations committee “urged the government to
investigate how such a serious lapse of security could occur when there
were reports from within the government agencies that such an attack
could be in the offing.”
More than 1,600 people have been killed in attacks in Pakistan over
the past 22 months, and Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants have forged a de
facto safe haven in the country’s lawless northwest along the border
For decades, Pakistan’s ISI military intelligence agency has fostered
Islamist militant groups in Kashmir and Afghanistan, and there are
suspicions that some ISI elements have links to militants inside the
Chris Broad, the match referee, angered officials by saying Pakistan
security forces had left the convoy vehicles like “sitting ducks.” “We
were promised high level security and in our hour of need, that security
vanished,” he told reporters in Britain.
Simon Taufel, an Australian umpire caught in the attack, said their
bus had been left unprotected once the assault began.