Yesterday's turkey shoot (for the attackers) in Lahore killed Pakistani cops - and, it seems, civilians - and injured members of Sri Lanka's cricket team. There haven't been any arrests, but Pakistan's government has a 10 million rupee (that's $125,000) reward out for information.
The 'no arrests yet' part makes me think that part of Pakistan's government really wants this debacle dealt with. If fifty or sixty people had been rounded up ASAP - and they just happened to be on the outs with whoever did the arresting, I'd be suspicious. Real investigations take time, as a rule.
[nation] Condemns, Victims Complain: Business as UsualA British referee says that Pakistani cops abandoned him when the shooting started. Pakistani authorities say they didn't: and have dead bodies to back up their claim.
I don't know what happened, but British referee Chris Broad is.
"...'There was not a sign of a policeman anywhere,' Broad said Wednesday following his arrival back in Britain. 'They had clearly left the scene and left us to be sitting ducks.' He did not say how long his vehicle was stationary. Other witnesses have spoken of police and the gunmen trading fire for around 15 minutes during the attack...."
Considering that perhaps 14 attackers were using assault rifles, grenades, and probably their rocket launcher, against Mr. Broad's convoy, I'd say that it showed true British pluck to stick his head out and take a careful look around during the firefight.
Even so, he may have been mistaken.
I'm a little dubious about claims that police or soldiers abandoned their post in an emergency. I know that it happens, but I also know that little pieces of a picture aren't the whole picture.
Leaving the Scene isn't Always 'Leaving the Scene'Last year, when a truck broke through the Islamabad Marriott's front gate and caught fire, three people fled the guardhouse.
Cowardly act? Maybe: but a truck that size, on fire, with an unknown quantity of fuel in its tanks, isn't particularly safe to stand near. And, three guys are not going to shove it aside, no matter how strong they are. Besides, a much larger number of people came back. One of them was carrying an outsize fire extinguisher, handed it to someone else: and that person walked up to the truck and started spraying it with fire retardant.
Considering that this was Islamabad, and the truck could have been filled with explosives, that took guts.
Condemning the CondemnableChina's condemned the Lahore cricket attack. South African cricketers have, too. (Daily Dispatch, Xinhua). I haven't read whether or not the South African government condemns the attack, too: but would be astounded if it doesn't. Nobody seems to like what went down in Lahore yesterday.
Except whoever planned it.
Pakistani leaders have their ideas. Pakistan's Prime Minister, Yusaf Raza Gilani "termed the attack a conspiracy aimed at isolating Pakistan's cricket and other sports while casting a shadow on Pakistan-Sri Lanka relations...." (Xinhua) internationally-loved sport. Terrorists, like many people, seem to have a problem with reconciling impulse, short-term goals, and long-term goals.
Back in 2007, Al Qaeda was whacking off the heads of people they didn't like, who weren't sufficiently Islamic, or who weren't doing as they were told. It may have felt good at the time, and in the short term may have helped Al Qaeda keep the locals in line. After a while, though, Iraqis - who are nobody's fools - started thinking that maybe the non-Muslim foreigners weren't so bad, after all. Not compared to the bloodthirsty 'defenders of Islam' they'd been helping.
Whether or not Pakistan has its 'Anbar Awakening' depends, I think, on how many Pakistanis are dedicated to maintaining a way of life that was ancient when The Prophet seized Mecca, and how many are interesting in entering the Information Age. Also, on how many daft decisions terrorists make.
I'm basing that assumption on American culture. Over here, shooting at a football team would not generate a great deal of sympathy for the cause of whoever did the shooting. There may be exceptions, though. (In a discussion of the (probable) death by drowning of some football players, one socially-conscious chap said "I hate athletes who aren't also intellectuals. And like SiuilARuin, I'm more concerned with 60,000,000 than 4." I'm not certain that the person who wrote that is an American citizen, but the odds are that he is.)
For the bulk of apathetic, uncaring, unfeeling, non-intellectual Americans, though: dry-gulching a football team would go over about as well as that ambush in Lahore.
It looks like Pakistan is going to have a bit of a time, getting cricket teams to come over for a game and target practice: until and unless Pakistan gets a government which has at least limited control over most of the country.
Not all countries deal with terrorism the same way, though. Afghanistan let America maintain an airbase at Bagram, and helps American and other forces hunt down Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan. A Pakistani leader, on the other hand, ordered his soldiers to shoot Americans who were pursuing Taliban and other terrorists in Pakistan.
Well, Pakistan is an independent country: but I don't think that protecting the Taliban and shooting at Americans is a particularly good idea.
Pakistan's Islamabad-based leaders might consider who has more to offer: the Taliban and LeT, or non-Muslim foreigners. Given the way that country's culture is, I'd say that's not as easy or obvious a choice as it seems.
Another SuspectLeT, or Lashkar e-Taiba, may - or may not - have been behind the cricket attack. If the name sounds familiar, that's the outfit that probably hit Mumbai. (Telegraph)
- "Taliban Brings Peace, Islamic Law, to Pakistan's Swat Valley"
(February 21, 2009)
- "Mumbai, 9/11, Lashkar e Taiba, Al Qaeda, and Lessons (Not?) Learned"
(November 30, 2008)
- "The Marines Blew Up the Islamabad Marriott!"
(September 23, 2008)
- "Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Foreign Troops: One Issue, Two Approaches"
(September 16, 2008)
- "Beheading Iraqis: Not Al Qaeda's Brightest Idea"
(October 25, 2007)
- "Locals Join American Forces, Purge City of Terrorists"
(September 11, 2007)
- "David Leggat: Sportspeople are now fair game for the evil-hearted"
The New Zealand Herald (March 5, 2009)
- "Cricket ref: Pakistan police fled during ambush"
The Associated Press (March 4, 2009)
- "PM: Pakistan-Sri Lanka ties not affected by terror attack"
Xinhua (March 4, 2009)
- "China condemns attack on Sri Lanka's cricket team in Pakistan"
Xinhua (March 4, 2009)
- "SA cricket condemns Lahore terror"
Dispatchonline (March 4, 2009)
- "Killing of cricket: Pakistan now a nation of nomads"
The Sunday Morning Herald (March 4, 2009)
- "World Agenda: cricket attack exposes increasing chaos in Pakistan"
TimesOnline (March 4, 2009)
- "Afghanistan: U.S. airbase attack wounds 3"
CNN (March 4, 2009)
- "Blast hits US base in Afghanistan, several wounded"
The Associated Press (March 4, 2009)
- "Sri Lanka cricket attack - who is to blame? "
Telegraph.co.uk (March 3, 2009)