Pak arrests four suspects for attack on Lankan cricketers
Islamabad says it has arrested four persons in connection with the macabre gun and grenade attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore on Tuesday morning. The arrests came as Pakistan continues with a massive search operation that followed the attack and the resultant international criticism.
According to media reports, the suspects were arrested from Karachi, Rahim Yar Khan and Lahore, some 12 hours after Lahore police released sketches of at least four people involved in the bizarre attack that left the world, especially the cricket community shell shocked.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to United Nations Abdullah Hussain Haroon said: “The investigation is going. We are at the moment in an unfortunate situation in Punjab province where this incident took place. There have been large-scale rounding up of people and four of those we believe are those involved in the attack. So as far as they are concerned we are catching up with them and that is a good sign.”
Soon after the terror attack, Pakistani authorities had attempted to shun responsibility by suggesting that the attack may have been the handiwork of foreign terrorists.
Pak officials had also drawn parallels between the audacious 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai and the gun-grenade mayhem launched on Sri Lankan’s that were in the country on an unscheduled goodwill tour.
Haroon also attempted to tone down the accusatory tone adopted by Pakistani official minutes after the attack, He said: “Let’s wait for that to emerge as to who is exactly responsible. Don’t think that the government of Pakistan has taken such an attitude and I think this finger-pointing is not good. Whenever anything happens in India it points to Pakistan and whenever anything happens in Pakistan it points to India. Well I don’t think that’s the way we should go.”
Latest reports out of Pakistan suggest some 300 people have been rounded up in connection with the attack that killed at least seven people including five policemen.
Officials are now said to be analysing the attack as an attempt to hijack the Sri Lankan team bus, and use the cricketers as bargain chips to negotiate for the release of arrested Lashkar-e-Tayyeba boss Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi.
Lakhvi was detained by Pakistan amid mounting international pressures following the 26/11 carnage in Mumbai.
Without negating possibilities of the attack being an abduction attempt,, local police in Lahore said initial investigations suggested that the terrorists only wanted to attack the team.
On Wednesday night Lahore police released sketches of four of the men who attacked the Sri Lankan cricketers.
Checks and searches are also on at hospitals in the area as police believe that a couple of attackers were also inured in the gun-fight.
The terrorists enjoy substantial support in Pakistan and the possibilities of the injured terrorists being treated by a sympathizing physician at a hide-out cannot be ruled out.
The condition of Ahsan Raza, the fourth umpire in the abandoned second test between Sri Lanka and hosts Pakistan, continues to remain critical on Thursday, after he was critically wounded in the attack.
The bullet injuries Raza suffered are reported to have damaged his lungs and liver and is on a ventilator at the Services Hospital in Lahore, where the condition of at least one of the six policemen, injured in the attack, is reported to be critical.
The attack has also touched off protests in this cricket crazy nation, which continues to see its attempts at international credibility repeatedly blasted away by ‘terror elements’ it once groomed for diplomatic reasons.