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Terrorism & Security

Gunmen attack Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan

At least six people were killed when militants ambushed the team's convoy.

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But Mr. Rehman, the Lahore police chief, has defended security arrangements for the Sri Lankan team and pointed out that policemen were the main targets, reports The Guardian.

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"Because the police were protecting them [Sri Lankan team], we were the main victims," said Rehman. "They [the gunmen] looked like trained people. The security provided was good."

Acting on the instructions of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan cricket team chartered a plane to leave Lahore on Tuesday, reports The News, an English-language Pakistani daily.

Tuesday's attack was widely condemned by the international and cricketing communities. According to the Associated Press, Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa called the attack "cowardly." Meanwhile, the Indian Congress termed the attack "horrendous" and "unbelievable," reports The Hindu, an Indian daily.

Agence France-Presse reports that India's home minister slammed Pakistani security as "hopelessly inadequate."

The Indian government, which had ordered its players to steer clear of Pakistan, said the incident proved Islamabad was not doing enough to combat known militant networks.

A Pakistani official has compared the attack with the attacks on hotels in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) in November 2008, reports Reuters.

The attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan on Tuesday bore the hallmarks of the same militants that carried out the attack on Mumbai in November, a senior Pakistan official said on Tuesday....
"I want to say it's the same pattern, the same terrorists who attacked Mumbai," Salman Taseer, governor of central Punjab province, told reporters at the site of the attack.
"They are trained criminals. They were not common people. The kind of weaponry they had, the kind of arms they had, the way they attacked ... they were not common citizens, they were obviously trained."

According to Fox Sports, international cricket contests in Pakistan will be suspended in the short term.

"Pakistan will certainly be a no-go zone for at least two years," [Fox Sports cricket commentator Brendon Julian] said after the attack on Sri Lanka's team bus....
"No national board will even contemplate the idea of sending a team to Pakistan following this attack."

Indeed, former captains of the Pakistani cricket team have already stated that Pakistan's chances of cohosting the 2011 Cricket World Cup have disappeared, reports Reuters.

The attack comes at a time of heightened political instability in the province of Punjab, of which Lahore is the capital. A ruling by the country's Supreme Court last Wednesday disqualified the main opposition party from politics, sparking widespread protests against the government, reported The Christian Science Monitor.

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