Ethics and morality March 9, 2009

An atrocity without answers

Who were these attackers

A week after the Lahore atrocity we are left without answers. Who were these attackers? How did they manage to annihilate the "security" forces? How did they all manage to escape unscathed? Instead of answers, we have witnessed unseemly and offensive posturing from the Pakistan Cricket Board and a perplexing silence from the President of Pakistan, who also happens to be the Patron of the PCB.

Apart from establishing the cause and the identity of the attackers, the main objective must be to dream up a formula that avoids the isolation of Pakistan cricket and nurtures an environment that facilitates the return of international teams. It is hard to understand how the approach of the PCB chairman, Ijaz Butt, is enabling any of those desirable outcomes? The tragedy of the Lahore attacks is followed by a frightening realisation that the salvation of Pakistan cricket lies in the hands of Butt.

Aakash Chopra's recent blog explained what presidential level security really is. It highlighted the complaints of match officials and the evidence of our own eyes that security was woefully inadequate. Instead Butt defended the security presence. Policemen died, is his limp argument. Nor will he accept any responsibility for the security arrangements, choosing to pass the buck to the Pakistan government. Yet he expects international cricket to return to Pakistan in six to nine months. How?

With all this nonsensical chest-thumping, Butt simply exposes his own inadequacies in heading an organisation of immense national importance. Frankly, no cricket board could contemplate sending a team to Pakistan while the PCB is under Butt's self-deluded leadership. Butt and Javed Miandad are confusing patriotism with insult. There is no pride in defending incompetent security arrangements and berating victims of a terrorist attack.

The only clear answer we have had this week is that the current PCB management and the Pakistan government are, surprise surprise, ill equipped to deal with this calamity. Not even a single official has offered to resign despite the catastrophic failings. How will these organisations inspire the confidence of a sceptical international cricket community when they can't even convince supporters of Pakistan cricket? How hard can it be to find a few good men of competence and common sense to shepherd Pakistan cricket back from the wilderness?

As with much of this decade of Pakistan cricket, it only ever gets worse.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here