The Lahore attack has all the hallmarks of the Taliban/Al Qaeda and ISI alliance. Here is an analysis based on international commentary on this attack.
The terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore has all the hallmarks of an Al Qaeda inspired attack, planned by the ISI and executed by the Taliban/ Sipah-e-Sahaba. Unless the backbone of the ISI is broken through a UN led inquiry, exposing the role of the ISI-Taliban alliance in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, as well as the Mumbai and Lahore attacks, the menace of terrorism will remain invincible in the region. To start with, arrest General Hamid Gul, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and Baitullah Mehsud, and produce in a UN-led tribunal.
Previously Tlaiban and their sister organizations such as Lashkar-e-Jhangavi / Al Qaeda / Lashkar-e-Taliba etc have attacked various sports events in Pakistan.
In November 2008 they attacked the inter-provincial games at Qayyum Stadium in Peshawar killing 4 and wounding 20.
On 8 May 2002, Taliban / Lashkar-e-Jhangavi attacked the hotel where the New Zealand cricket team was staying in Karachi; a suspected suicide bomber killed 14 people outside the Karachi hotel they are staying in. -- The blast, on the day the second test in a series was to have begun, injured the team physiotherapist and killed 11 French navy experts, two Pakistanis and the suicide bomber. The NZ team flew back to their home country.
Bad day all round for the values of civilisationGreg Sheridan, Foreign Editor | March 04, 2009 - The Australian
THIS appalling outrage in the Pakistani city of Lahore, closely modelled on last November's terrorist bombings in India's Mumbai, represents a new template for al-Qa'ida and like-minded groups around the world.
Lahore is the ancient capital city ofthe Punjab, Pakistan's largest province.
Its desecration through this terrorist attack is a savage blow to the Pakistani state.
It is second only to the murder of Bennazir Bhutto in demonstrating the continuing, and worsening, crisis in Pakistan.
The question deserves to be asked: are we witnessing the unravelling of Pakistan?
The Pakistan Government has effectively surrendered to the Taliban in the Swat Valley, not too far from Islamabad. It claims a dubious victory against the Taliban in the Bajur region.
But now even touring cricketers from Sri Lanka in Lahore are not safe against an exceedingly well-armed, well-manned, well-organised terrorist outfit, that is more like an urban insurgent army than a traditional terrorist cell.
Clearly, terrorists can now strike anywhere in Pakistan, and seemingly at will.
The Government cannot carry out the most basic function of a state -- securing its own territory, whether that be the tribal regions, the badlands on the borders, or even its cities.
This brazen attack is also a declaration to the Pakistani Government that it bought absolutely nothing through its deal with the Taliban in the Swat Valley.
You cannot buy your way clear of terrorists. They take whatever coin you offer and then renew the attack anyway.
Nonetheless, the only sensible option for the West, for the US and Australia, is to increase assistance to the ramshackle Pakistani Government.
The Pakistani state is facing a crisis of competence and capability.
But if the state were to fail it would be replaced by the terrorists.
The urgent priority, therefore, is to bolster the state, however difficult andin some senses even futile that may seem. The other disturbing conclusion from this attack is that we will see more like them.
Western intelligence agencies believe that al-Qa'ida and affiliated groups have fully internalised what they see as the success of the Mumbai attacks.
They caused havoc, disrupted a major city for days, killed a lot of people and dominated the global media for much longer than a single bombing, no matter how destructive, was likely to do.
Western intelligence agencies believe there is a good chance that the next big terrorist attack in a Western society could follow the Mumbai model, now repeated in Lahore.
This is a bad day all round for the values of civilisation.
Who will save Pakistan?
The attack on Sri Lankan cricketers underlines the risk to an already fragmented state of becoming an international outcast
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 3 March 2009 14.00 GMT
The audacious attack on Sri Lanka's cricket players as they travelled through Lahore has underscored fears that politically fractured, economically destitute and militarily challenged Pakistan, if not already a failed state, is heading rapidly towards the status of international outcast.
The virtual certainty that Pakistan's days of hosting Test cricket are over for the foreseeable future is the least of the country's problems. The attack in the heartlands of the Punjab, the army's traditional stronghold and the most populous province, looked like a deliberate throwing down of the gauntlet to army chief of staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
There was also broad consensus about the purpose of the attack, which was widely compared, in terms of tactics and aims, to that carried out by the Punjabi group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, in Mumbai last November. "I think this is a deliberate attempt to undermine the government at the time when there is a huge political crisis in the country," Rashid said. "They are trying to create a vacuum of power in which eventually they can take over."http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/mar/03/sri-lanka-cricket-team-attack-pakistan
Why Nowhere In Pakistan Is Safe Any Longer
1:09pm UK, Tuesday March 03, 2009
Terror attacks always contain a message. The Lahore attack said: "Anytime, anyplace, anyone."
The gunmen used rockets and grenades in the attack
Pakistan is slowly and violently falling apart.
The main stream politicians and counter-terrorism experts know they have pretty much lost the North West frontier and Swat Province.
They know the cities of Karachi and Quetta are unstable and that the Islamists are within 100 miles of the gates of Islamabad.
The well-planned and well-equipped Lahore attack tells us nowhere in Pakistan is safe and that the people's love of cricket will not spare the national sport from being targeted.
When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, they banned all "infidel" sport. Their brothers in Pakistan take a similar view, especially when the cricketers are accompanied by western officials.
Ayesha Siddiqa, a military analyst in Islamabad, told Al Jazeera that the idea that Indian intelligence services were behind the Lahore attack was very popular in Pakistan, but the attackers' disappearance suggested that they were locals with knowledge of the area.
Long War Journal
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, however the strike is similar to a wave of military-styled assaults by al Qaeda-linked terror groups against civilian targets in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Yemen. The most recent attack took place in Kabul, where what is believed to be a Haqqani Network cell assaulted the Justice and Education ministries as well as the Prisons Directorate headquarters. The deadly November 2008 terror assault on the Indian financial capital of Mumbai was also carried out by a well-armed, well trained assault squad from the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The Taliban, al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, and a host of Pakistani jihadi terror groups have joined forces to battle the Pakistani military in the Northwest Frontier Province and NATO and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has revived its paramilitary army, formerly known as the 055 Brigade and now known as the Lashkar al Zil, or Shadow Army. The Shadow Army contains fighters from each of these terror groups, and trains in camps in the Northwest Frontier Province and the tribal areas.
Pakistani security officials and pundits have instead shifted the blame on today's assault to India. Khushro Pervaiz, Lahore's Commissioner, said that India's involvement in the assault cannot be ruled out.
Hamid Gul, the former chief of Pakistan’s notorious Inter-Services Intelligence agency who has strong ties to the Taliban and al Qaeda, told Geo News that the attack was part of a conspiracy by India to paint Pakistan as a terror state. Gul is thought to be one of the Pakistanis behind in the Mumbai assault, intelligence officials told The Long War Journal last year.
EDITORIAL: Al Qaeda strikes in Lahore...The Sri Lankan cricket team playing in Lahore was attacked Tuesday morning by terrorists, injuring three team members and killing seven police personnel guarding the team. Twelve terrorists arrived in rickshaws, took positions, surrounded the van bringing the Sri Lankans to Gaddafi Stadium, fired on it for 25 minutes and then made good their escape. They were armed with rockets, hand grenades and kalashnikovs. The attack was caught on camera and shown by the TV channels in the morning. The cricket series has been called off and the Sri Lankans have gone home, shaken by what they have gone through.
Governor Salmaan Taseer, who arrived on the scene, stated that the attack was carried out by the same people who had executed the Mumbai attacks last year. That attack was traced to members of Lashkar-e Tayba or Jama’at-ud Dawa, some of whose planners are being investigated. On the day the attack on the cricket team in Lahore occurred, the newspapers carried news that Al Qaeda had owned up the Marriott Hotel blast of September 2008 in a message sent to the Saudi embassy in Islamabad. On December 22, 2008, the adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior, Mr Rehman Malik, had told the National Assembly that the Marriott blast was carried out by Lashkar-e Jhangvi.
In her interviews before she was assassinated, Ms Benazir Bhutto had revealed that the attack on her procession in Karachi in October 2007 was carried out by the gang of “Abdul Rehman Sindhi, an Al Qaeda-linked Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) militant from the Dadu district of Sindh”. After her assassination in December 2008, an Al Qaeda spokesman claimed having killed “an American asset”. The LeJ is a sectarian outfit, created in 1996, and trained by Al Qaeda in its camps in Afghanistan. In the late 1990s, whenever the government of Pakistan demanded the handover of LeJ killers, the Taliban government, backed by Al Qaeda, steadily refused the demand.
There are other signs that the LeJ is an ally of Al Qaeda. The record of Lashkar-e Jhangvi as the policy instrument of Al Qaeda is quite impressive. Today it is one of a number of erstwhile jihadi militias aligned with Al Qaeda in their war against Pakistan. In May 2002, a New Zealand cricket team abandoned its tour of Pakistan after an LeJ suicide bomber attacked them in front of their hotel in Karachi.
LeJ was closely aligned with Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the master-planner of the 9/11 attacks in the United States. When the British national Omar Sheikh, sprung from an Indian jail by Jaish-e Muhammad after the hijack of an Indian airliner in 1999, led the American journalist Daniel Pearl into a trap in Karachi in January 2002, the trap was actually a group of terrorists of LeJ who finally facilitated Khalid Sheikh Muhammad in personally slaughtering Pearl in a safe house belonging to a charity trust linked to a madrassa in Karachi and active in Afghanistan, and banned as a terrorist organisation.
The latest Lahore attack was not a suicide-bombing which usually indicates circumstances of reduced possibilities for the terrorists; it was an operation where the terrorists saw an open-space opportunity where a drilled squad of terrorists could accomplish the mission. The Sri Lankan team’s logistics was studied and a place was chosen where their van could be intercepted. The police preparation for the team’s security obviously did not include a set-piece battle where a travelling row of vehicles could actually be stopped with rocket-launchers and grenades, allowing the killers to fire directly into the van. What they had in mind was probably the kind of unsuccessful attack suffered by President Pervez Musharraf in Rawalpindi in 2003.
Despite many occasions when Al Qaeda has owned up its attacks in Pakistan — one was when an Al Qaeda spokesman declared that the Danish embassy in Islamabad was attacked by an Al Qaeda suicide-bomber — few Pakistanis believe that Al Qaeda is dangerous for Pakistan. In a number of TV discussions, educated audiences have expressed the verdict that either Al Qaeda does not exist or it does not represent any danger to Pakistan. This trend is strengthened by so-called “careful” reporting from places where journalists like Musa Khankhel of Swat are exposed to the danger of being killed. It is also strengthened by the regular acquittal of LeJ terrorists from courts where judges are not protected by the state. * (Daily Times)
SECOND EDITORIAL: ...and effect on national politics
An even more dangerous trend is of recent birth. On February 23, 2009, “under instructions” from Mullah Umar and “sheikh” Osama bin Laden, the three feuding warlords of Waziristan — Baitullah Mehsud, Maulvi Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadur — announced reconciliation and merger under the rubric of Shura Ittehad Mujahideen (SIM). They also issued a pamphlet that vowed the targeting of Al Qaeda’s three enemies: “Obama, Zardari and Karzai”. Baitullah Mehsud’s Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) subsequently announced that it would no longer fight the Pakistan army. But the announcement of “Zardari” as a target while letting the Pakistan army off the hook is a menacing signal for Pakistani politics.
International cricket is no longer possible in Pakistan; therefore we should stop accusing foreign teams of discriminating against Pakistan vis-à-vis India. The question here is of the survival of Pakistan, not of cricket. The country is split down the middle, its two mainstream parties getting ready to face each other in the streets amid rising violence. The politicians and other civil society organisations protesting against the government have so far enjoyed the “exemption” from terrorism allowed by Al Qaeda. Unfortunately, it seems they are not going to give up confrontation to unite against Al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda is hardly interested in the restoration of the deposed judges or the correct observance of democratic rules in Pakistan. It wants Pakistan as its own state, armed with nuclear weapons and an economy that can sustain global terrorism. It would be a pity if Pakistan responds, like an ex-ISI boss who has already done so, by accusing India’s RAW or Israel’s Mossad for this attack, as some commentators did in reference to the Marriott blast when an Indo-Pak media war was sparked by the Mumbai attacks. (Daily Times)
By no stretch of the imagination can a Pakistani militant or terrorist organisation bear a grudge against Sri Lanka, let alone its cricketers. The context, then, suggests that the attack was carried out by internal or external elements who wish to either destabilise the Pakistan government or to further isolate it internationally. Whose agenda does this attack fit, is the question that needs to be asked, probed and answered. The dozen or so people who attacked the Sri Lankan team bus with hand grenades, at least one RPG and endless rounds of gunfire were no ordinary terrorists. The footage shows all too clearly that this was an attack carried out by individuals who have received highly sophisticated combat training. Their approach was not dissimilar to that adopted by the Mumbai gunmen. Perhaps the same organisation is to blame for both tragedies.
With all due respect to the policemen who died in the half-hour gun battle in which they tried valiantly and successfully to save the Sri Lankans, a security lapse did occur, officialdom’s denials notwithstanding. This aspect of the story must be investigated fully. Tuesday’s assault also highlights the folly of negotiating with those bent on destroying our way of life. The peace deal, or capitulation, in Swat has been described by officialdom as a regional solution to a regional problem. This does not wash, it cannot fly. Militancy and terrorism are national problems that are not confined to a specific region. The obscurantists must be tackled head-on if we are to entertain any hope of redemption. If the state resorts to negotiating with militants from a position of weakness, what we will get is disaster, across the board. The politicians need to wake up, bury the hatchet in the national good and rout the real enemy. (Dawn)
|بس پر سامنے اور دائیں جانب فائرنگ کے نشانات ہیں|
سری لنکا کی ٹیم لاہور کے فائیو سٹار ہوٹل سے اپنی فلائنگ کوچ میں نکلی جسے ڈرائیور مہر خلیل احمد چلا رہے تھے جبکہ پولیس کی دوگاڑیاں اس کے آگے، ایک پیچھے سیکیورٹی کے لیے تھیں اور اس کے علاوہ ایمبولینس اور ٹریفک کےموٹر سائیکل سکواڈ تھی۔
مہمان ٹیم کی گاڑی میں کرکٹ ٹیم کے کھلاڑیوں کے علاوہ دیگر آفیشلز بھی سوار تھے۔ یہ گاڑی جب لبرٹی چوک پر پہنچی تو اس پر کئی اطراف سے حملہ کیا گیا۔
ایک نجی ٹی وی چینل سماء کا دفتر اسی چوک پر واقع ہے اس ٹی وی چینل کے رپورٹر ایمن مفتی نے یہ واقعہ ہوتے دیکھا۔ ان کا کہنا ہے کہ اچانک بس پر حملہ کیا گیا اور انہوں نے دو دھماکے سنے جس سے کوچ کا رخ مڑگیا۔ اس کے بعد اس پر فائرنگ کردی گئی۔
پولیس کی گاڑیاں بھی نشانہ کی زد میں آئیں اور حملہ آوروں نے ان پر بھی فائرنگ کی البتہ رپورٹر کا کہنا ہے کہ صاف دکھائی دے رہا تھا کہ حملہ آوروں کا نشانہ مہمان منی بس ہے اور وہ اسے پولیس کی گاڑیوں سے الگ کرنا چاہتے ہیں۔
سماء ٹی وی کے رپورٹر ایمن مفتی کاکہنا ہے کہ وہ اپنے دفتر کی کھڑکی سے یہ منظر دیکھ رہے تھے اور انہوں نے دیکھا کہ حملہ آوروں نے بس کی عقب میں آنے والی پولیس کی گاڑی کو بطور خاص نشانہ بنایا۔ ان کے بقول اس گاڑی میں سوار تمام پانچ افراد کو موقع پر ہی ہلاک کردیا۔ انہوں نے بتایا کہ ایک پولیس اہلکار گاڑی سےنکل کر باہر گرا تو حملہ آور نے اس کے قریب جاکر اس پر فائرنگ کی اور اس کے مرنے کی تصدیق کی۔ ہلاک ہونے والوں میں ایک ٹریفک پولیس وارڈن بھی ہے۔
بس ڈرائیور خلیل احمد کا کہناہے کہ ان پر یکے بعد دیگر دو دستی بم پھینکے گئے تھے جس کے بعد انہوں نے گاڑی کی رفتار بڑھادی تھی اور اس علاقے سے نکلنے کی کوشش کی۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ ایک بم تو سامنے سے سکرین پر پھینکا گیا جو نیچے گرگیا اور انہوں نے اس پر سے بس بھگا دی۔
وہ تمام مسافر کھڑکیاں جن کے پیچھے کرکٹ کے کھلاڑی بیٹھے تھے چھلنی ہیں۔ ونڈ سکرین پر بھی تین سوراخ ہیں جبکہ کھڑکیوں کے نیچے گولیوں کے درجنوں نشانات ہیں جس سے بظاہر یوں معلوم ہوتا ہے کہ حملہ آوروں کا نشانہ براہ راست کھلاڑی تھے۔
اس فائرنگ کےدوران فلائنگ کوچ کا ڈرائیور گاڑی بھگا کر اپنی منزل کی جانب لے جانے میں کامیاب ہوگیا۔ ڈرائیورمہر خلیل کا کہنا ہے کہ دوکھلاڑی زیادہ زخمی تھے انہیں ایمبولینس میں بھجوادیاگیا۔
سری لنکا کےکھلاڑیوں کو سٹیڈیم کے اندر ان کے ڈریسنگ روم پہنچایا گیا۔http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/story/2009/03/090303_lahore_attack_chronolgy.shtml
پاکستانی سیکورٹی اسٹیبلشمنٹ ہوسکتی ہے !
ہوسکتا ہے کہ ممبئی حملوں کے بعد پاکستان پر پڑنے والے دباؤ سے توجہ ہٹانے کے لئے پاکستان کی سیکورٹی اسٹیبلشمنٹ کے اندر کسی گروہ نے اپنے طور پر یہ کاروائی کرنے کا فیصلہ کیا ہو۔ یا یہ بھی ہوسکتا ہے کہ کوئی اور گروہ سرکاری پردے میں یہ کھیل کھیلنے پر آمادہ ہوگیا ہو تاکہ پنجاب کے سیاسی بحران اور وکلا تحریک جیسے چیلنج کو امن و امان کی محذوشی کے قالین میں لپیٹ کر کوٹا جاسکے۔
کوئی فرقہ وارانہ یا جہادی گروہ ملوث ہوسکتا ہے !
سن دو ہزار دو میں کراچی کے شیرٹن ہوٹل کے باہر ایک خودکش حملے میں اس وقت متعدد افراد ہلاک و زخمی ہوئے جب نیوزی لینڈ کی کرکٹ
ٹیم ہوٹل سے باہر نکل رہی تھی۔ حکومتی ایجنسیوں نے دعوی کیا تھا کہ اس واردات میں کالعدم لشکرِ جھنگوی ملوث تھا۔ چنانچہ ممکن ہے کہ تازہ کاروائی بھی اسی گروہ کی ہو یا پھر کالعدم لشکرِ طیبہ کا ردِ عمل ہو جسے ممبئی بم حملوں میں ملوث قرار دے کر حکومتِ پاکستان اس کے گرد شکنجہ کس رہی ہے۔
اور امن و امان کے ذمہ دار اہلکاروں کے مسلسل تبادلے ہورہے ہیں اور وہ اپنی ذاتی بقا کے تحفظ میں مصروف ہیں۔
لبرٹی چوک لاہور کا ایک پررونق علاقہ ہے اور یہاں دن ہو یا رات ہر وقت گہما گہمی رہتی ہے۔اس علاقے میں جہاں گھروں کے شہر کی بڑی مارکیٹ اور نجی اداروں کے دفاتر ہیں۔
|حاجی فضل رحمان|
ان کے بقول چوک کے ساتھ بغلی گلی میں داخل ہوئے تو وہاں پر بھی کمانڈوز جیسے وردی پہنے دو لڑکے کھڑے تھے اور انہوں نے گاڑی کو گلی میں داخلی سے روکنے کے لیے فائرنگ کردی جس سے ایک گولی وین میں لگی جس سے اس کا سامنے شیشہ ٹوٹ گیا۔حاجی کا کہنا ہے وہ تیزی سے اپنی وین کو اس گلی سے دور لے گئے۔
Previously in November 2008, Taliban have claimed responsibility for similar attacks on Sports:
Suicide attack kills three at the main gat of Qayum Sports Stadium in Peshawar: Bilour was the target; Taliban accept the responsibility...Suicide attack at the main gate of Qayum Stadium after the closing ceremony of inter-provincial games kills three in Peshawar: Bilour was the target; Taliban accept the responsibility...
Suicide attack kills three in Peshawar (Tuesday, November 11, 2008)
Terrorist Attack on Sri Lankan Cricket Team in Lahore: Is Lashkar-e-Taiba/Taliban alliance involved?
Some relevant comments: