by M. Hussain
In a terrorist attack reminiscent of the Mumbai attacks, 6 Sri Lankan cricket players were lightly injured while a third umpire was critically injured while on their bus. The incident took place outside the Qaddafi Stadium in Lahore, the capital of Pakistan's Punjab province. Five people have been confirmed dead from the security detail. While the Mumbai attack showed confusion and cowering Indian security forces, the Pakistani reaction, in contrast was swift, taking casualties but effectively repulsing an organized and surpise attack.
The attack was well organized and involved two bomb blasts followed by small arms firing. While five security guards were killed and several injured, the security forces managed to repulse the attack. The attackers numbered 12 and came on motorcycles, fired indiscriminately and then fled, leaving back ammunition bags and weapons. The firing continued for about 25 minutes.
Bags of ammunition was left in front of Al-Fatah store in neighborhood of Gulberg. Weapons left behind included 84mm Carl Gustav recoiless rifles, controversially a standard issue weapon to the Indian Army, a weapon not typically found with the Taliban.
Carl Gustavs are of Swedish origin and exported to the Indian army and never exported to the Mujahideen. RPG-22 rocket propelled anti-tank grenades, another standard issue for the Indian special forces (and another weapon less typical for the Taliban who more typically prefer RPG-7s) was also used. A senior defense correspondent, while remaining anonymous, states that the choice of weapons as well as other evidence, clearly indicates India's hand in the present attack and is being seen as a "response" to the Mumbai attacks.
Terrorist attacks perpetrated by RAW have many previous precedents but given the present sensitivities and the Indian reaction to the Mumbai attacks, they could prove to be a catalyst for heightened tensions between the two belleaguered neighbors.
Sri Lankan cricketers Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paranavithana received minor wounds. The Third Umpire is seriously injured and The cricket team has been recalled by Sri Lanka in light of these attacks.
Gavin Scovell, a sports producer and a witness to the attacks applauded the security detail for their rapid and calm response. In a press release, he stated:
"The guards were brilliant. They weren't panicking. They were very calm," Scovell said. "It must have been a terrifying experience, but they handled it well."
Meanwhile, two unidentified bodies have been found but it has not been released yet if these are of the attackers or of civilians.
by M. Hussain