Pak board slams Broad, says security adequate in Lahore

IANS
Mar 05, 2009 at 06:26pm IST

Lahore: Pakistan's cricket chief Ijaz Butt on Thursday took a swipe at match referee Chris Broad over his outburst against security arrangements in Lahore, saying that he would soon send a formal complaint against the Englishman to the International Cricket Council (ICC).

"His (Broad's) allegations are totally fabricated," Butt told a press conference here at the Gaddafi Stadium. "There is no truth in them. The security arrangements were in place," he added.

Butt was responding to allegations fired by Broad on his return to England where he claimed that he and other match officials and Sri Lankan players were like sitting ducks for the terrorists who attacked them in Lahore Tuesday morning.

CRACK IN CRICKET: Pakistan cricket board and referee wage war of words over Lahore attack.

Eight people, mostly policemen, were killed in the attack while several of the Sri Lankan players were injured.

"I am extremely angry at the Pakistani security forces," Broad told reporters in Manchester on Wednesday.

"We were promised high level security and in our hour of need that security vanished and they left us to be sitting ducks."

Australian umpires Steve Davis and Simon Taufel have joined Broad in seeking answers after surviving the Lahore attack.

"We were certainly left without any security in our van when we were being fired upon," said Davis at Melbourne airport.

An angry Butt rejected these charges, saying that people like Broad and Davis were alive because the Pakistani security men died, saving them.

"People who escaped the tragedy without even a scratch should not be talking against the same security men who died saving them," he said.

Broad, a former England Test opener, also questioned why the Pakistan team bus missed the convoy, departing five minutes later after travelling with them on the previous two days of the second Test, though he noted it also happened at times during the Karachi Test.

"I thought maybe they were having five or 10 minutes more in the hotel and would turn up later, but after this happened you start to think, 'Did someone know something and they held the Pakistan bus back?'" Broad said.

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While recalling those comments, Butt got even angrier.

"I will not use the language I want to use against Broad," he said. "Because he is the same who's been praising security arrangements in Pakistan all along."

The PCB chief also washed his hands of the security lapse that allowed the attack on the Sri Lankan team, saying that the security arrangements are the responsibility of the government.

"It is the state that provides security to the players not the PCB," he said.

The PCB has come under intense criticism over its failure to ensure fool-proof security to the Sri Lankans and the match officials.

However, he said that in future the board might hire private security experts for "guidance".

He also didn't rule out the idea of having "bullet-proof" transport vehicles for players and officials in the future.

"We have received offers from military officials that they can help us have bullet-proof transport but I must tell you that it is a very, very expensive proposition," he said. "But we will consider it."

WHAT PAKISTAN HAD PROMISED

Pakistan had promised the highest and fool proof security cover for the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team, but many within Pakistan are questioning whether the security cover was deliberately downgraded.

The Interior Ministry says it was the job of Punjab Police to ensure the security of the Sri Lankan cricket team.

The ICC match referee says the policemen ran away when the firing began in his report to the ICC. Security experts say the route security was just not appropriate.

Even traffic on the road was not blocked for the convoy to pass through.

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