High court judge slams police officers for Lahore attack
A judge of the Lahore High Court has heavily criticised senior Pakistan police officers for not performing their duties properly on the morning of March 3, 2009, when the visiting Sri Lankan team was exposed to a terrorist attack in Lahore. Shabbar Raza Rizvi identified more than a dozen policemen guilty of incompetence in his report on the incident, which is due to be submitted to the ICC, Associated Press has reported.
The attacks took place as the players were on their way to Gaddafi Stadium for the third day of the second Test, in the team bus. Eight people were killed, while seven Sri Lankan players and the coach were also injured. The match officials and the bus driver also had narrow escapes. Since then, there has been no international cricket in Pakistan and the national side has been forced to rejig its home commitments to various neutral venues.
Rizvi wrote that senior police officer Haji Habibur Rehman, who was supposed to be the overall commander of the Sri Lanka team's security, was not to be seen when the attack took place.
"I wish I had seen him marching on the road ... or at least sitting in his office before 8am," Rizvi wrote. "Unfortunately, he only became visible and audible after the occurrence had taken place."
Rizvi also criticized police Deputy Inspector General Amjad Javed Saleemi for a "dereliction of duty" after Saleemi admitted he was not sure whether police officers in the area of the attack were even on duty.
"Obviously he (Saleemi) would have only known, if he himself were there," Rizvi wrote. "He made contradictory statements before me and did not have moral courage to state the truth."
Rizvi also pointed out that Police Superintendent Mohammad Abid fell short in his duties. "He had the direct responsibility, and placement of snipers on high-rise buildings is an area of his jurisdiction," Rizvi wrote. "He miserably failed to do that and was absent from duty when the occurrence took place."
The ICC has sent reminders to the PCB to submit an incident report on the terror attacks but the game's governing body is yet to receive it. The PCB, however, is still waiting for permission from the government to submit Rizvi's report to the ICC.