Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Cricket attack survivor: Police left us sitting ducks

Pakistani police officers gather around the dead body of a police commando at the shooting site in Lahore, Pakistan.
Pakistani police officer remove the dead body of a police commando at the shooting site in Lahore, Pakistan
A helicopter carrying the Sri Lankan officials and players aboard prepares to take off from Gaddafi stadium for airport after the shooting incident in Lahore, Pakistan

The English cricket referee who was acting as the International Cricket Council's match referee before the terrorist attack in Pakistan on Tuesday has admitted his concern about the possibility of a conspiracy behind the ambush.

Former England batsman Chris Broad (51) was caught in the gunmen’s crossfire as match officials and Sri Lanka players made their way to Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium for the third day of the second Test.

Broad and umpires Simon Taufel and Steve Davis emerged unscathed but six policemen were killed and local umpire Ahsan Raza suffered a bullet wound to his stomach, while seven Sri Lankan players and assistant coach Paul Farbrace also suffered injuries.

Speaking on his return to Manchester Airport, Broad attacked the Pakistan security forces which he claimed had left them like “sitting ducks”, but he has also admitted his concern about how the situation unfolded.

Despite a convoy which included out-riders on motor-bikes and two vehicles full of elite policemen armed with machine guns, the terrorists were able to attack the convoy with relative ease.

The sequence of events has left Broad questioning how the attack was able to happen — and why the Pakistan bus delayed its departure from the hotel to the ground on that particular morning.

“On the first two days (of the Test) both buses left at the same time with escorts,” said Broad. “On this particular day the Pakistan bus left five minutes after the Sri Lankan bus. Why?

“I thought maybe they were having five or 10 minutes more in the hotel and would turn up later, but after this happened you start to think: ‘Did someone know something and they held the Pakistan bus back?”’

Although Broad insisted he had no evidence of a conspiracy, he admitted his great anger about the lax security arrangements did make him consider how it happened.

“At every junction from the hotel through to where we were attacked and all the way to the ground there were police in light blue uniforms with hand-guns controlling traffic,” he said.

"How did the terrorists come to the roundabout and how did they start firing and these guys not do anything about it?”

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