K.M. Chaudary/AP
Pervez Rathore, police chief in the
city of Lahore, speaks during a
press conference.

Arrest Made in Attack on Sri Lanka Cricket Team

June 18, 2009 12:30 PM
by Denis Cummings
Months after the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked, Pakistani officials say they have broken up a terrorist network and identified six other individuals believed to have been involved.

Taliban Network Disbanded

In an article by the BBC, Pervez Rathor, the police chief in Lahore, Pakistan, said, "We have broken up a Punjabi Taliban network and we have arrested an attacker who shot dead a policeman."

The Associated Press reported that a man named Mohammad Zubair has confessed to participating in the incident. Zubair was a member of the Punjabi Taliban, which "is accused of having al-Qaida ties." 

On March 3, a bus carrying the Sri Lankan national cricket team to its match in Lahore, Pakistan, was attacked by several gunmen. Six Pakistani policemen and the driver of the team's bus were killed, while several players were injured.

The attackers had originally planned to kidnap the Sri Lankan team and use them as a means of having "their arrested accomplices released," The Associated Press quoted Rathor as saying.

According to the AP, six other suspects in the Sri Lanka incident were identified, but their location is unknown.

Two months after the cricket team attack, authorities began an offensive against the Pakistani Taliban northwest of Islamabad.

Reuters said the United States, which counts on Pakistan's help in stopping al-Qaida and stabilizing Afghanistan, was "heartened" by the effort. Pakistan has seen a considerable surge in violence during the past year.

Reaction: India responds

Many countries, including India, Britain and Australia, already refused to play in Pakistan due to security reasons before the Sri Lankan team was attacked, and it became unlikely that any international cricket match would be played in Pakistan for the foreseeable future. 

In fact, it was announced shortly after the incident that the Indian Premier League tournament would be moved outside of India because the government said it could not guarantee the safety of the players.

Reference: Cricket and the IPL


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