Lahore attack on cricketers lays bare a Pakistan that is failingMarch 8th, 2009 - 3:44 pm ICT by ANI
Lahore/Peshawar/Washington, Mar.8 (ANI): The latest terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan, underlines the violence and corruption at the heart of a nuclear nation, feel experts What comes out clearly from the grainy CCTV footage is the nonchalance of the attackers, which borders on the chilling.
One sequence shows a man arriving on a motorbike in a deserted street. Two others with guns slung over their shoulders mount the bike, which drives off. They look like men confident of not being caught.
Even in a country increasingly inured to violence, there is bewilderment over the Lahore attack.
Why would anyone target players from a country with which Pakistan is on friendly terms? And how did the gunmen get away so easily? What is even more bewildering is the fact that a police station stands within half a mile of the Liberty roundabout yet no policemen emerged to help colleagues.
Nobody was more horrified by the lack of reinforcements than Mohammad Afzal, one of the police outriders.
Bullets were bouncing on the road next to us, he said in hospital after being shot in the eye and leg. It was raining fire.
Afzal had been issued with no weapon or flak jacket. The attackers had such heavy weapons, we were overwhelmed, he added.
My colleague Tanwir was lying on the ground. I saw one of the gunmen calmly shoot him dead and then the terrorists all just walked away.
Asif Mahmood, an interior decorator, witnessed one of many missed opportunities to give chase. He had just dropped his children at school when he almost collided head-on with a red Hyundai Santro.
Mahmood wound down his window to confront the offending driver but the words froze in his mouth.
The car contained four young men, not older than 25, all holding guns, he said. When one of them pointed a gun at me I quickly reversed out of their way.
As the car sped off, Mahmood ran to tell two policemen standing next to a police jeep. They did not pursue the vehicle but called their superiors.
The slow reaction of the police, combined with the coolness of the assassins, led many to suspect an inside job.
The fact is that the Pakistan police are under equipped, earn 70 pounds a month and have been the main victims of violence that has claimed 1,600 lives in two years.
Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, a military analyst, doubts it will be any different this time: These people have local linkages, meaning they can disappear quickly. They might have linkages with law enforcement agencies. The politics is that people dont want to admit this.
Khusro Pervez, the Lahore police commissioner, confessed there had been major security lapses.
The search continues for those behind last weeks attack in Lahore. Most Pakistanis are resigned to the view that, as usual, the real culprits will never be found. (ANI)
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