March 3, 2009

This is a fire that threatens everyone

Let us be clear: Gaddafi Stadium is not the only place where an attack on cricket will grab headlines
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The raging fire that has consumed so much else of Pakistan's national fabric has now singed cricket, too © AFP
 

What we had all feared has finally happened. A visiting cricket team has been attacked in Pakistan. A large cricket-watching audience that was anticipating the third day's play in the Test at Lahore has been left shocked and aghast. Everyone is hoping and praying that the players' injuries will heal quickly.

This is a challenging time to be invoking hope and prayer. Pakistan has been burning and suffering for a long time now. Hope in these parts was already in short supply. At a time like this, it seems non-existent.

You can already hear all cricket boards around the world say "we told you so." They kept saying Pakistan is not a safe country. They refused to visit. They have been proved right. The Pakistani authorities have been proved wrong. The raging fire that has consumed so much else of Pakistan's national fabric has now singed cricket, too. No cricket lover thought the worst-case scenario would ever come to pass. But it has.

For quite a while now, opinion leaders in Pakistan cricket have argued that terrorists do not and will not target cricket. Well, so much for that. Cricket in this part of the world has now become a victim of its own success. Whatever evil mind planned this understood that attacking cricket would be the surest way not merely to grab the headlines but also to hang on to them for several news cycles.

In the days and weeks to follow, the usual hand-wringing and the predictably endless hemming and hawing about the perpetrators of this attack will take place. A foreign hand will be blamed. Intelligence and security failures will be condemned. Official statements will be proffered. Almost certainly we, the cricket-following public, will be left more and more confused with each passing day.

So where do we go from here?

 
 
Whatever evil mind planned this understood that attacking cricket would be the surest way not merely to grab the headlines but also to hang on to them for several news cycles
 

An important next step is for Pakistan's cricket authorities to accept that they are up against powerful elements well beyond the boundary and well beyond their control. Restoring Pakistan's credibility as a cricketing host now requires some clear major development in the national political landscape and a sustained period of countrywide peace and stability. In the current circumstances, which find Pakistan politically adrift on a tense geo-political faultline, that is a very tall order. But it is not impossible.

The other, equally critical move is for the world cricketing fraternity to stand with Pakistan against the terrorists. Let us be clear: Gaddafi Stadium is not the only place where an attack on cricket will grab headlines. This is a fire that threatens everyone, and everyone has to come together to understand it and fight it.

Pakistan cricket has suffered other body blows before, but none has come so close to its jugular. In the immediate aftermath there are too many questions that need to be addressed but, sooner or later, the most difficult one will have to be confronted. We have to take a long and honest look at the forces and events that have led to a beloved pastime becoming transformed into a horrific platform for the perpetration of evil. We have to confront whatever ugly reality lies beneath these events and we have to conquer it.

This is not a challenge Pakistan can deal with alone. All cricketing nations, in particular those in Pakistan's immediate neighbourhood, need to join forces and present a united front to the terrorism that has spared no one in South Asia. Abandoning Pakistan at this moment will be the easy way out. Let us not forget that in any difficult situation the easy way out is never the right answer.

Saad Shafqat is a writer based in Karachi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RegretfulCricketLover on March 5, 2009, 1:15 GMT

    Has anybody considered that this attack was perhaps against the most boring cricket played on dead pitches? The games were a nightmare...it is like watching Chanderpaul batting all day long.

    To solve the case, start from the 1500 poor souls who bought tickets to Karachi match...or maybe leave the case unsolved...it perhaps was done as public service to eliminate the most wasteful sport from Pakistan. Unfortunately 6 had to die to free Pakistan from this addiction.

    To eliminate terrorism forever, Pakistan must distribute soccer balls to all youngsters (take away their cricket equipment).

    If Pakistan is breeding terrorism to make gains in Kashmir, please don't bother to use arms...I'm signing off my claim (I'm Indian) to Kashmir...I can't visit the place sans risk or buy property there whereas anybody can buy any property in USA even without a visa or having to visit the nation.

    World has changed guys...it is about individual interests and freedom except ALL MUST PLAY SOCCER. AMEN!

  • UsualSuspect on March 4, 2009, 15:02 GMT

    Nobody can help a nation which is not ready to accept help or is not sincere about it ! Instead of asking for help from other countries (like it always does), Pakistan should do some introspection. The strength to fight should come from within, and Pakistan should show to the world that it is serious in intent and forthcoming in action.

  • Nampally on March 4, 2009, 14:49 GMT

    Saed you are right on, where you quoted the fears of many cricketing countries which have been confirmed by this terrorist attack. Where angels feared to tread, Sri Lankan did with almost fatal consequences.Pak. Govt. guaranteed the safety of the players but failed in its promise because of very casual/lax security and intelligence. Where Mrs. Bhutto was murdered in cold blood by the locals, what hope of safety a foreigner has in Palistan? Pak. terrorists also infilterated into India and carried out the Mumbai massacre. Elimination of terrorist cells should be the first & foremost goal of the Pak. govt., if Pakistan is to maintain respect at the international level. Terrorist do not distinguish between Sportsmen or civilians. Their belief of killing is a religious act and if caught/killed makes them "martyrs". Hence the whole approach should start by educating the Pak. public with the basic ,belief that "killing any humans is an evil act which will put them in Jhehnum not martyrs".

  • GULNATHANI on March 4, 2009, 13:51 GMT

    This was undoubtedly a worst day in the history of cricket. Imagine the mental agony and torture of cricketers and officials, besides the physical injuries. I am appalled at the Pakistan officials who claim that excellent security was provided. Pakistan had promised presidential security. I do not know of any member of Pakistan senate or cabinet that travels in vehicles that are not bullet proof. Usually, all roads are blocked when politicians are traveling. Pakistan security may have done last minute heroics to save Srilankan cricketers and officials but the arrangements left much to be desired. Unfortunately, the political situation in Pakistan, particularly in Punjab, is dictating the utilization of resources. I am sure that the security was mobilized elsewhere as Pakistani politician are more concerened in saving theie seats rather than protecting foreign ambassadors of sport. Pakistan Government should come forward and accept their mistakes and make sweeping changes in security.

  • VoxPopuli on March 4, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    Let us also be very clear that Gaddafi Stadium IS the only place where an attack on cricket has grabbed the headlines so far.

    It is true that Pakistan and Pakistani Cricket need help from outside - desperately so. However no one can expect that such help will just come automatically. It is absurd to expect that outside help will come pouring in while it is business as usual in Pakistan.

    Pakistan should show intent to fight terrorism and back it up by some solid action to build the necessary confidence in those who can help. While that, what the government did in Swat valley does not help the cause. Neither does blaming the "foreign hand" for a home grown terrorism.

  • Himangp on March 4, 2009, 12:40 GMT

    Terrorism is evil no matter where it is unleashed. May it be in the US, UK or in south asia, it is terrorism and the victims are innocent people. These terrorist organisations have a strong network. They definitely have inter links. Their agenda is simillar. Blaming a country or a government won't solve the problem at hand. All countries (governemnts) have equal responsibilty in dealing with terrorism. Let this incedent open the eyes of the masses all around the world. Let this unfortunate incedent drive everybody towards a world without terrorism.

  • Awam on March 4, 2009, 11:21 GMT

    Lets hope that performance of both teams will further improve from now on, like that alert and courageous bus driver...

  • ExCric on March 4, 2009, 11:10 GMT

    Firstly it is a sad thing that this has happened. Pakistan was one of the bastions for the higher forms of cricket. But why is there such a defeatist attitude from the writer and from the others. The mood should be of fighting this real and homegrown scourge. I don't see what Pakistan's neighbours can do here, they do not encourage or try to make peace with these kinds of elements in their country. All they can do is stop these human resources from getting exported to their shores. The sacrifice and revolution will have to come from within Pakistan. Once that is done forget the cricketers, even tourists would go there as it is a ruggedly beautiful country.

  • nabeel541 on March 4, 2009, 9:51 GMT

    Unfortunately, all countries will take the 'easy way out' - they have no direct incentive to help Pakistan with its situation. And besides agreeing to play against Pakistan at neutral venues, what else can other countries do? Collectively condemn the attacks (which they have obviously done)? That doesn't really translate into much help for Pakistan.

  • DONSILVA on March 4, 2009, 9:39 GMT

    Defiantly the saddest moment in world cricket and also one of the most unforgettable strategies in the history of sports. Fortunately the players are not under critical scenario but the damaged as done to Pakistan cannot be rectified. Anyway Pakistan can build up on this horror as no terrorist group can survive without public support and they can eliminate these groups in full. Then the rebuilding of cricket will be automatic. My person prospect, as a Sri Lanken I feel very sorry for the country and all my Pakistani friends are more suffered due to this, as they are extremely nice people. As Mehaela said Sri Lanka wont never fail to extend the support to Sri Lanka in the future, though we believe that stronger security should have been provided. We than all the brave soldiers and the driver who save our hero despite concerning their own lives.

  • RegretfulCricketLover on March 5, 2009, 1:15 GMT

    Has anybody considered that this attack was perhaps against the most boring cricket played on dead pitches? The games were a nightmare...it is like watching Chanderpaul batting all day long.

    To solve the case, start from the 1500 poor souls who bought tickets to Karachi match...or maybe leave the case unsolved...it perhaps was done as public service to eliminate the most wasteful sport from Pakistan. Unfortunately 6 had to die to free Pakistan from this addiction.

    To eliminate terrorism forever, Pakistan must distribute soccer balls to all youngsters (take away their cricket equipment).

    If Pakistan is breeding terrorism to make gains in Kashmir, please don't bother to use arms...I'm signing off my claim (I'm Indian) to Kashmir...I can't visit the place sans risk or buy property there whereas anybody can buy any property in USA even without a visa or having to visit the nation.

    World has changed guys...it is about individual interests and freedom except ALL MUST PLAY SOCCER. AMEN!

  • UsualSuspect on March 4, 2009, 15:02 GMT

    Nobody can help a nation which is not ready to accept help or is not sincere about it ! Instead of asking for help from other countries (like it always does), Pakistan should do some introspection. The strength to fight should come from within, and Pakistan should show to the world that it is serious in intent and forthcoming in action.

  • Nampally on March 4, 2009, 14:49 GMT

    Saed you are right on, where you quoted the fears of many cricketing countries which have been confirmed by this terrorist attack. Where angels feared to tread, Sri Lankan did with almost fatal consequences.Pak. Govt. guaranteed the safety of the players but failed in its promise because of very casual/lax security and intelligence. Where Mrs. Bhutto was murdered in cold blood by the locals, what hope of safety a foreigner has in Palistan? Pak. terrorists also infilterated into India and carried out the Mumbai massacre. Elimination of terrorist cells should be the first & foremost goal of the Pak. govt., if Pakistan is to maintain respect at the international level. Terrorist do not distinguish between Sportsmen or civilians. Their belief of killing is a religious act and if caught/killed makes them "martyrs". Hence the whole approach should start by educating the Pak. public with the basic ,belief that "killing any humans is an evil act which will put them in Jhehnum not martyrs".

  • GULNATHANI on March 4, 2009, 13:51 GMT

    This was undoubtedly a worst day in the history of cricket. Imagine the mental agony and torture of cricketers and officials, besides the physical injuries. I am appalled at the Pakistan officials who claim that excellent security was provided. Pakistan had promised presidential security. I do not know of any member of Pakistan senate or cabinet that travels in vehicles that are not bullet proof. Usually, all roads are blocked when politicians are traveling. Pakistan security may have done last minute heroics to save Srilankan cricketers and officials but the arrangements left much to be desired. Unfortunately, the political situation in Pakistan, particularly in Punjab, is dictating the utilization of resources. I am sure that the security was mobilized elsewhere as Pakistani politician are more concerened in saving theie seats rather than protecting foreign ambassadors of sport. Pakistan Government should come forward and accept their mistakes and make sweeping changes in security.

  • VoxPopuli on March 4, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    Let us also be very clear that Gaddafi Stadium IS the only place where an attack on cricket has grabbed the headlines so far.

    It is true that Pakistan and Pakistani Cricket need help from outside - desperately so. However no one can expect that such help will just come automatically. It is absurd to expect that outside help will come pouring in while it is business as usual in Pakistan.

    Pakistan should show intent to fight terrorism and back it up by some solid action to build the necessary confidence in those who can help. While that, what the government did in Swat valley does not help the cause. Neither does blaming the "foreign hand" for a home grown terrorism.

  • Himangp on March 4, 2009, 12:40 GMT

    Terrorism is evil no matter where it is unleashed. May it be in the US, UK or in south asia, it is terrorism and the victims are innocent people. These terrorist organisations have a strong network. They definitely have inter links. Their agenda is simillar. Blaming a country or a government won't solve the problem at hand. All countries (governemnts) have equal responsibilty in dealing with terrorism. Let this incedent open the eyes of the masses all around the world. Let this unfortunate incedent drive everybody towards a world without terrorism.

  • Awam on March 4, 2009, 11:21 GMT

    Lets hope that performance of both teams will further improve from now on, like that alert and courageous bus driver...

  • ExCric on March 4, 2009, 11:10 GMT

    Firstly it is a sad thing that this has happened. Pakistan was one of the bastions for the higher forms of cricket. But why is there such a defeatist attitude from the writer and from the others. The mood should be of fighting this real and homegrown scourge. I don't see what Pakistan's neighbours can do here, they do not encourage or try to make peace with these kinds of elements in their country. All they can do is stop these human resources from getting exported to their shores. The sacrifice and revolution will have to come from within Pakistan. Once that is done forget the cricketers, even tourists would go there as it is a ruggedly beautiful country.

  • nabeel541 on March 4, 2009, 9:51 GMT

    Unfortunately, all countries will take the 'easy way out' - they have no direct incentive to help Pakistan with its situation. And besides agreeing to play against Pakistan at neutral venues, what else can other countries do? Collectively condemn the attacks (which they have obviously done)? That doesn't really translate into much help for Pakistan.

  • DONSILVA on March 4, 2009, 9:39 GMT

    Defiantly the saddest moment in world cricket and also one of the most unforgettable strategies in the history of sports. Fortunately the players are not under critical scenario but the damaged as done to Pakistan cannot be rectified. Anyway Pakistan can build up on this horror as no terrorist group can survive without public support and they can eliminate these groups in full. Then the rebuilding of cricket will be automatic. My person prospect, as a Sri Lanken I feel very sorry for the country and all my Pakistani friends are more suffered due to this, as they are extremely nice people. As Mehaela said Sri Lanka wont never fail to extend the support to Sri Lanka in the future, though we believe that stronger security should have been provided. We than all the brave soldiers and the driver who save our hero despite concerning their own lives.

  • junaidthepathan on March 4, 2009, 9:31 GMT

    It is devastating news. Thank God no Srilankan's were killed and pray that the injured recover as soon as possible. Sympathy to the families of the innocent killed. As a cricket fan I'm absolutely gutted that this will definitely put an end to foreigners visiting Pakistan for cricket or a visit. My thoughts are with the rest of the innocent Pakistani fans and people who are also shocked by this cowardly terrorist attacks. I will like to say thanks to the Srilankan team for visiting Pakistan and that pakistanis are with them and wish them a speedy recovery.

  • Awam on March 4, 2009, 6:08 GMT

    Cricket has survived World Wars, Aparthied and Match fixings. Now is the sternest test and if politics and sports are not separated anymore by terrorists, its about time that international cricket boundaries are further united and strengthened. Cricket is in Pakistani blood and ball is now in PCB's court to find a creative way of playing abroad with reasonable revenue generation and team success rate. Fans back home are worst sufferers but this maybe a great chance to promote domestic cricket on fast, hard and bouncy tracks to lure the fans back to stadia to support their state teams. Sri Lankans guests are in shock but they are as brave as lion on flag, wish them all speedy recovery.

  • tick on March 4, 2009, 5:36 GMT

    First of all,thanks to all who have supported pakistani cricket.As a paki supporter,its a heart breaking issue for all the 20crore people in pakistan not only because we couldn't protect our srilankan guests but also the consequences that pakistan cricket has to face.As a dye heart fan of pakistan,i am optimistic that pakistan can remain a good cricket team without the opportunity of playing in their home for atleast next 3 years.But i think pakistanis 2nd home ''UAE'' will be an ideal choice for staging home series.and i request all of paki supporters to make a forum where we can support our team ,our country and to lift pakistani cricket because we won't let our cricket dye.In last i hope that all other teams and thier supporters will support pakistan,purely on the basis of there love for cricket and passion for cricket irrespective of thier nationality and religion.my email is masoodtermite@gmail.com.

  • KiwiRocker- on March 4, 2009, 4:32 GMT

    This is a sad episode for Pakistan and for world cricket. Let us do not forget those unsung heroes who lost their lives while protecting Sri Lankan Team. This act does not define Pakistan as a nation and accordingly Pakistan should be supported in same way as India was after attacks in Mumbai. Pakistan has proved more world class super stars than any of its neighbours and the show must go on for Pakistani team. ICL is not going ahead. IPL has lost its charm without Pakistani players and equally world cricket should not be deprived of watching Pakistani cricket team in action otherwise we would be justifying terrorists acts. Terrorism can happen anywhere. Pakistan is a victim of these non state actors. In hindsight security could have been beefed up but history suggests that these attacks can happen to anyone at anytime. We live in this sad world where so called leaders of world war on terrorism have left Pakistan hanging dry to clear their mess.

  • RXSrilanka on March 4, 2009, 4:19 GMT

    It is sad that this happeded in Pakistan and we will never forget the fact that they toured Sri Lanka in 1996 when most others did not. However escort and other security was clearly inadequate. How come a white car can overtake the bus so easily and why were no outriders and more security personnel around so close to the ground. Somebody didn't do their job right...

  • faforce on March 4, 2009, 4:03 GMT

    I feel like crying. We, Pakistanis have not been able to host Sri Lankan stars. I have no problem with any team not wanting to come here anymore. I just hope we, ourselves would be able to get out of this mess soon before something worse happens.

  • NeilCameron on March 4, 2009, 3:47 GMT

    There is no doubt that this is a tragedy, first and foremost, for those people who died in the attack and, secondly, for the Sri Lankan players who were able to survive (albeit not unscathed) this horrible event. Pakistan's contribution to world cricket over many decades has been immense and this attack will impact upon the standing of this great cricket nation. As an Aussie supporter, I have always been impressed by the skill, courage and commitment of Pakistani players who have toured our country over the years. But while Pakistan itself may not be tourable for years to come, I am certain that the national team will continue to tour other nations and show the steely will that has typified players from this country.

  • JayM on March 4, 2009, 3:23 GMT

    It feels like Pakistan as a nation has lost more than just its status as host nation but it has lost a dream to see other cricketing nations playing on its soil. It feels like loosing something very dear...something irreplaceable. Pakistan team may still play at some other venues around the world, but those games will never be same again. Half of the team moral lies with its crowd, there will never be a majority crowd cheering for Pakistan, what will players think, when they will enter the ground...it's something heart-breaking for viewers home. I wish we never has to see this darkest day in international cricket and especially cricket in Pakistan, a land that produced great cricketers like Imran Khan, Javaid Miandad, Waseem & Waqar. Pakistani will certainly miss joy of game on its soil for many years to come...Its a sad day!

  • gauravbelani on March 4, 2009, 2:46 GMT

    On the subcontinent cricket is more than a religion. It is the only thing that brings the millions in the region joy and happiness. It was something that was sacred and no politicians or terrorists could change that. Yesterday, all that changed when cowards attacked the Sri Lankan team who had bravely agreed to come to Pakistan for a tour. What these cowards did not only gave Pakistan a bad name but they have destroyed the sacred place cricketers enjoyed in the subcontinent. I hope that this attack does not cause Pakistan to be boycotted from cricket while I hope to applaud the bravery and professionalism the Sri Lankan cricketers showed by coming on this tour and by conducting themselves in a dignified and amicable manner in the face of adversity. Terrorism has no religion, no country and no objective. It is a menace we have to face together and have to defeat if we hope to live in a free world and a world where people can enjoy watching and playing cricket.

  • Solar_Rex on March 4, 2009, 1:54 GMT

    It is sad to see such brutal savage deed being perpetrated by mindless, heartless, godless,evil, hateful, horrible excuse for humanity on innocent cricketers from neighboring country who braved to grace this god forsaken place and this is what they get in return? What a shame? Don't these cruel brutal thugs have no shame? and they cry and whine like victims while terrorizing whole civilized world. How are we going to put an end to this insanity and cancer spreading from this sewer?

  • onion834 on March 4, 2009, 1:16 GMT

    It is indeed sad to see the game's situation has come to this. Guys, this is not the time for "I told you so"s. I wish the leaders and politicians do something quickly to bring those responsible to justice. For the sake of people of subcontinent, everything should come to an end.

  • CaribbeanLionesse on March 4, 2009, 0:59 GMT

    I have a lump in my throat trying to hold back the tears - the grief and anguish of regular cricket-loving Pakistanis is painful.

    This is indeed the darkest day yet for Pakistani cricket which has given the world so many brilliant players. An attack like this will surely weaken cricket there at the grassroots level for it diminishes the game for young aspirants when they can never watch their own team at home or dream of playing their first test in their own country. It is simply tragic. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the madness of terrorists - they seem to merely be inverse, perverse celebrities in their hunger for publicity by any means. Why attack cricketers? Why Sri Lankans? Why the only team that would still visit Pakistan? I have Pakistani friends and I don't know what to say to them. How many times can you ask someone 'what on earth is going on in your country'? After a while you become ashamed for them and embarrassed to ask.

  • srajan_rsvl on March 4, 2009, 0:51 GMT

    Hopefully this tragedy results in the people of Pakistan saying "Enough is enough" to terrorists who operate on their soil. Meaning political opposition, military opposition etc.

  • dutchy on March 3, 2009, 22:13 GMT

    As an Australian, I feel great sympathy for Pakistan cricket - we must not let the game wither in this magnificent cricketing country. Not only have Pakistan players given us some of the games greatest moments, I believe cricket is important in the war against terror - it contributes to the stablity of a nation. It is unrealistic to expect teams to tour Pakistan for a while - but countries should start inviting Pakistan to tour them as much as possible.

  • Nemos_Eleven on March 3, 2009, 22:02 GMT

    Being a very passionate fan of the game, it feel as if somebody close to you has passed away, it feels that painful. After reading few of the comments about Pakistan in general, it is like somebody is rubbing salt on your bleeding wounds and I must say civilised people should not say such things. Pakistani people and cricket as a sport will suffer the most and if the goons who took out these attacks are reading all this, they will the happiest people today. I would like to plead to PCB,people of Pakistan and our team, lets get up on our feet again,dust our cloths off and march on. We are down but not out and never will be! I'm sure we will come out stronger and better from this and these scars of wars on our faces will remind us of our struggle and success once we have beaten this menace. Lets work hard on what we do and whenever or where ever we play, we play for the whole nation as this not just the game anymore for us, we need to bring pride and smile to our people.

  • Padhu_Pattabiraman on March 3, 2009, 21:37 GMT

    An interesting article. Definitely its a sad day for cricket and especially in Pakistan where cricket is facing a tough time already. One thing that is not appealing is the author's statement "This is not a challenge Pakistan can deal with alone". If we rewind yesterday's bloody attack on Cricketers, the terrorists group that had done it had escaped without even one person being caught. Its not the best news to hear. I think Pakistan Govt. has to increase the stringency with the security rather than just go for a lapse. It is very important for their Govt to get things straightened rather than just point finger and keep blaming. What can a country adjacent to Pakistan do to prevent terrorist attack that is happening in Pakistan in broad daylight. I think targeting Cricket and Cricketers is just a means in Pakistan to bring things to halt, get attention because that is the biggest sport in Pakistan soil. I think Pakistan Govt takes this seriously and figure out ways to combat terrorism.

  • FlashAsh on March 3, 2009, 21:31 GMT

    Please before we enter into recriminations let us remember that it is not only Pakistan Cricket or cricketers that have suffered. 8 people are dead and the security forces have paid more dearly with their lives to defend cricket than any cricketer (so far!).

    Albeit this attack happened in Pakistan it so easily could have been Mumbai (Englands kit was at the hotel, maybe timing of attack was premature?) or at Lords, Lest we all forget previous attacks that have been extremely close, ask NZ!

    No cricket board can boast infallable defences against this sort of attack, so none should gloat and say "I told you so". All Boards must work together to assist PCB in ensuring that we offer Pakistan opportunities to play. I think that some short time ago it was suggested that the UK would be a suitable place to play Home matches for them as we have a significant number of fans who would be delighted to be able to support them.

    Maybe ECB and UK Govt should consider this?

  • jayrkay on March 3, 2009, 21:07 GMT

    this is a sad day for Pakistan as well as the rest of the world. This should be an eye opener for all countries where religion plays a large role in each of the countries governance. Unfortunately, Pakistani's religious state has denied its people to work with the rest of the world. A common man may follow any religion, but alligiance should be to their country. People of Pakistan deserve more, but not brutal force every where they turn. Allah did not want this to happen. Take heart, all of you, world still supports you, come out of the religious shakles, and stand up Tall.

  • Cricneutral on March 3, 2009, 19:53 GMT

    The day is really sad for cricket. But to be honest, i felt bad for Sri-Lanka. They didnt deserve this. We should expect all the blame game by Pakistan authorities (in fact it has already started). But the problem is Pakistan should act tough and kill the vicious snake. Its time that it acts tough. Saad's argument that neighbouring countries should stand by Pakistan doesnt stand because the neighbouring countries stood by it and toured the country when every one else refused. You cant help a country which doesnt want to help itself with its flip-flops and corrupt attitude. I hope sanity and stability returns to the country. I am sick and tired of all this impotent Pak government. Our condolences are only with the innocent victims. Wish speedy recovery for all injured.

  • desiwave on March 3, 2009, 19:41 GMT

    I think 3/3/09 is one of the saddest day in Pak's history of existence. It puts a huge question mark on Pak's credibility as a state. And I completely agree with the general consensus among the article and the comments that unless there is a drastic change in Pak's political and social landscape, "normal" cricket is a thing of past in Pak., and I hope PCB and the government understands that. They should acknowledge the situation and try to work around it. Staging international series at neutral venues is the first step in that direction, but just doing that will be stupid. Where is the next generation coming from? PCB should concentrate on domestic cricket, with more under-19 tours to diff. countries. PCB should constitute a new "dept." to make sure that facilities at neutral venues are favorable for good cricket. As PCB is cash strapped right now, so ICC and other countries can help with initial setup, but eventually its PCB and Pak. govt. respons'ty. vshtlw@gmail.com for details...

  • patil1pd on March 3, 2009, 19:09 GMT

    This indeed is the worst day in the cricket history. Its very unfortunate that so many security men have lost their lives, and the athletes have been injured; and my thoughts and prayers are with them. We certainly cannot get beaten by these elements; we would stand firm and face the challenges. However, we do have responsibility towards cricketers, those involved with the game and the fans, and we cannot put them in harm's way just to show solidarity. No sport is more than anyone's life. I think we should be united in our response to this challenge, stand firmly behind PCB. However, resuming playing immediately, and insisting that it is safe for cricketers in Pakistan when it in reality is not may not be the best way to tackle it. Pakistani Government should first provide safe platform and then only expect to resume international cricket in Pakistan.

  • SAJN on March 3, 2009, 18:04 GMT

    It is very unfortunate to read some of the adverse comments about Pakistan.People making such comments should realize that all of us in Pakistan are also the victims of such terrorist acts.People of Pakistan in general and cricket fans in particular expect the international community to support Pakistan instead of just isolating/condemning her with such expressions. One should not forget to appreciate and acknowledge the sacrifices of those valiant police officials who were killed in order to save the Sri Lanakan players by engaging the terrorists while the player's coach sped to safety.They laid down their lives while protecting our Sri Lanakan guests. Those making negative comments about Pakistan should note the sentiments of Sri Lanakan Captain Jayawardene that he is ready to return to Pakistan once situation improves. Mr.Jayawardene I salute you on behalf of the people of Pakistan!

  • jadeboy on March 3, 2009, 17:44 GMT

    What happened is rather unfortunate for Pakistan cricket and to the SL cricketers. Cricket as a sport will be poorer for it. However one should not forget what the Pak Govt did after the Mumbai attacks. They steadfastly tried to stonewall on issues related to terrorism originating from their country. All evidence provided by the Indian Govt. was termed as 'information' but not evidence. Today, that snake has turned and bitten the same hand that fed the terrorism. Pakistan is increasingly going to be a pariah state and they have themselves to blame for it. And for cricket lovers this will mean not being able to see the sublime skills that Pak cricketers have entertained us with, over the years.

  • subhashis_7 on March 3, 2009, 17:28 GMT

    This is indeed a very sad day for world cricket. And as other people mentioned here, Pakistan govt has to stand up firm. They have to stop the blame game and find excuses. As Jeya rightly told, to put your own house in order, you dont need neighbours. So Saad, rightly the whole world has to fight against terrorism, but for this situation, the solution lies at home. Pakistan govt has tot ake firm stand against terrorism, and have to get involved in tough fight to drive out all the evil forces from the country.

    No one will come to play to Pakistan, that is for sure. But I guess ICC will arrange Pakistan to play matches in Middle east, and teams will go there (like the Aus Pak series in april). But if Pakistan to host cricket in future, the govt have to stand up. Pak cricket board also should stop sending the false notion that that country is safe.

  • vannoj on March 3, 2009, 17:23 GMT

    This is a well written article. It indeed exposes and explains the grave situation under which cricket in Pakistan has plunged. I am indeed sorry for the young cricketers in that country as well as the loyal law abiding fans. All must strive to save the game in Pakistan, especially those who control sports and politics within the country.

  • Farce-Follower on March 3, 2009, 16:56 GMT

    Nicely put, Saad. But really, the ones giving Pakistan the ditch are its own leaders - civilian and military. This is so similar to Neville Chamberlain appeasing Hitler. Also, how long can Imran Khan and the likes keep blaming the US. After a while it sounds irritating and hypocritical. The fire is within and so are the fire-fighters.

  • Uzzii on March 3, 2009, 16:33 GMT

    This is really a sad moment not only for Paki cricket fans but for the all the cricket fans world over. I am 100% supporting the views of Imran khan that the security provided to the Srilankan Cricket Team wasn't enough to cope up the fear which all the teams, around the world have in touring Pakistan.

    On behalf of all the Paki fans, I appologies for this mishap and pray for the quick recovery of the injured players.

  • Skids on March 3, 2009, 15:56 GMT

    Hi Saad. This is indeed a very trying time, not just for cricket but for Pakistan as well. In a perfect world, what you mentioned would happen - i.e. all the countries would stand united against terrorism. But this is not a perfect world we live in, and thus it will not happen. It is unrealistic to even think on such lines at the moment. Pakistani cricket has been always like a soap opera..tremendous highs and lows, wins from near defeat and defeat from assured victory, incredible talents and sublime batsmen, not to mention inimitable characters like Miandad. But this does seem like a final episode before next season begins. The world cannot look the other way while Pakistan implodes. Right now, terrorism should be tackled first, cricket later. The prayers and hopes of 1 billion of my Indian country men and women are with the Sri Lanakan cricketers who suffered this ghastly deed, to get better. Hopefully, the govt of Pakistan will finally rise up against the threat of Taleban.

  • Jey3 on March 3, 2009, 15:51 GMT

    The need of the hour is a strong statement from Pakistan Government that the Terrorism and Terrorists will be crushed and eliminated in all forms. The next step is to corroborate that statement by acting fast, without diluting the incident in blaming others especially neighbouring countries and take some firm actions and bring those responsible for this cowardly act to justice. Catching the bull by its horn is the only shortcut to find a permanent solution. Denying the existence of terrorism or finding excuses will not lead anywhere. For putting your house is order, other countries are not required. As simple as that.

  • Rajesh. on March 3, 2009, 15:21 GMT

    Unfortunate & sad it may sound but the only option now is to scratch Pakistan as a host for all Cricket fixtures......

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  • Rajesh. on March 3, 2009, 15:21 GMT

    Unfortunate & sad it may sound but the only option now is to scratch Pakistan as a host for all Cricket fixtures......

  • Jey3 on March 3, 2009, 15:51 GMT

    The need of the hour is a strong statement from Pakistan Government that the Terrorism and Terrorists will be crushed and eliminated in all forms. The next step is to corroborate that statement by acting fast, without diluting the incident in blaming others especially neighbouring countries and take some firm actions and bring those responsible for this cowardly act to justice. Catching the bull by its horn is the only shortcut to find a permanent solution. Denying the existence of terrorism or finding excuses will not lead anywhere. For putting your house is order, other countries are not required. As simple as that.

  • Skids on March 3, 2009, 15:56 GMT

    Hi Saad. This is indeed a very trying time, not just for cricket but for Pakistan as well. In a perfect world, what you mentioned would happen - i.e. all the countries would stand united against terrorism. But this is not a perfect world we live in, and thus it will not happen. It is unrealistic to even think on such lines at the moment. Pakistani cricket has been always like a soap opera..tremendous highs and lows, wins from near defeat and defeat from assured victory, incredible talents and sublime batsmen, not to mention inimitable characters like Miandad. But this does seem like a final episode before next season begins. The world cannot look the other way while Pakistan implodes. Right now, terrorism should be tackled first, cricket later. The prayers and hopes of 1 billion of my Indian country men and women are with the Sri Lanakan cricketers who suffered this ghastly deed, to get better. Hopefully, the govt of Pakistan will finally rise up against the threat of Taleban.

  • Uzzii on March 3, 2009, 16:33 GMT

    This is really a sad moment not only for Paki cricket fans but for the all the cricket fans world over. I am 100% supporting the views of Imran khan that the security provided to the Srilankan Cricket Team wasn't enough to cope up the fear which all the teams, around the world have in touring Pakistan.

    On behalf of all the Paki fans, I appologies for this mishap and pray for the quick recovery of the injured players.

  • Farce-Follower on March 3, 2009, 16:56 GMT

    Nicely put, Saad. But really, the ones giving Pakistan the ditch are its own leaders - civilian and military. This is so similar to Neville Chamberlain appeasing Hitler. Also, how long can Imran Khan and the likes keep blaming the US. After a while it sounds irritating and hypocritical. The fire is within and so are the fire-fighters.

  • vannoj on March 3, 2009, 17:23 GMT

    This is a well written article. It indeed exposes and explains the grave situation under which cricket in Pakistan has plunged. I am indeed sorry for the young cricketers in that country as well as the loyal law abiding fans. All must strive to save the game in Pakistan, especially those who control sports and politics within the country.

  • subhashis_7 on March 3, 2009, 17:28 GMT

    This is indeed a very sad day for world cricket. And as other people mentioned here, Pakistan govt has to stand up firm. They have to stop the blame game and find excuses. As Jeya rightly told, to put your own house in order, you dont need neighbours. So Saad, rightly the whole world has to fight against terrorism, but for this situation, the solution lies at home. Pakistan govt has tot ake firm stand against terrorism, and have to get involved in tough fight to drive out all the evil forces from the country.

    No one will come to play to Pakistan, that is for sure. But I guess ICC will arrange Pakistan to play matches in Middle east, and teams will go there (like the Aus Pak series in april). But if Pakistan to host cricket in future, the govt have to stand up. Pak cricket board also should stop sending the false notion that that country is safe.

  • jadeboy on March 3, 2009, 17:44 GMT

    What happened is rather unfortunate for Pakistan cricket and to the SL cricketers. Cricket as a sport will be poorer for it. However one should not forget what the Pak Govt did after the Mumbai attacks. They steadfastly tried to stonewall on issues related to terrorism originating from their country. All evidence provided by the Indian Govt. was termed as 'information' but not evidence. Today, that snake has turned and bitten the same hand that fed the terrorism. Pakistan is increasingly going to be a pariah state and they have themselves to blame for it. And for cricket lovers this will mean not being able to see the sublime skills that Pak cricketers have entertained us with, over the years.

  • SAJN on March 3, 2009, 18:04 GMT

    It is very unfortunate to read some of the adverse comments about Pakistan.People making such comments should realize that all of us in Pakistan are also the victims of such terrorist acts.People of Pakistan in general and cricket fans in particular expect the international community to support Pakistan instead of just isolating/condemning her with such expressions. One should not forget to appreciate and acknowledge the sacrifices of those valiant police officials who were killed in order to save the Sri Lanakan players by engaging the terrorists while the player's coach sped to safety.They laid down their lives while protecting our Sri Lanakan guests. Those making negative comments about Pakistan should note the sentiments of Sri Lanakan Captain Jayawardene that he is ready to return to Pakistan once situation improves. Mr.Jayawardene I salute you on behalf of the people of Pakistan!

  • patil1pd on March 3, 2009, 19:09 GMT

    This indeed is the worst day in the cricket history. Its very unfortunate that so many security men have lost their lives, and the athletes have been injured; and my thoughts and prayers are with them. We certainly cannot get beaten by these elements; we would stand firm and face the challenges. However, we do have responsibility towards cricketers, those involved with the game and the fans, and we cannot put them in harm's way just to show solidarity. No sport is more than anyone's life. I think we should be united in our response to this challenge, stand firmly behind PCB. However, resuming playing immediately, and insisting that it is safe for cricketers in Pakistan when it in reality is not may not be the best way to tackle it. Pakistani Government should first provide safe platform and then only expect to resume international cricket in Pakistan.