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SL players were attacked near police post


Altamash Hashmi,CNN-IBN
Mar 05, 2009 at 09:44am IST

Lahore: CCTV footage available show the terrorists who attacked Sri Lankan players in Lahore on Tuesday walking around freely with heavy automatic weapons in an area which should have been secured as the cricket team was scheduled to pass through the route.

The footage taken from shops in the Liberty market exposes the complete breakdown in Pakistani security during the moments that followed the shocking attack.

After exchanging fire with policemen for more than 20 minutes outside the Gaddafi Stadium, killing six policemen and two others, the terrorists are seen casually slinging rifles over their shoulders, and walking through Liberty market.

HOMAGE: Pakistan's hockey team pay tribute to Pakistani police officers killed in Tuesday's attack in Lahore.

While some of them carried bags, others had dropped their grenades, rocket launchers and handguns at the scene of the shootout.

They then broke up into groups of two each, and without exchanging a word get on to motorbikes parked nearby, escaping through the heart of the city.

What makes the video more startling is that it was taken about 50 metres from the Liberty market police station. Yet not one policeman is seen in any frame of the captured footage and the questions from within Pakistan and the international community are getting louder.

Why was no one monitoring the Liberty Chowk area? Why were the attackers allowed to move so freely? Why did no one raise an alarm on seeing armed men on the streets and just how did the men get away so easily?

Just across the road at the scene of the attack, the lack of security outraged International Cricket Council Match Referee Chris Broad.

Broad saw his bus driver shot dead and fourth umpire Ahsan Raza lying in a pool of blood.

"They had clearly gone, left the scene and left us to be sitting ducks. So I am extremely angry that we were promised high level security and in our hour of need the security vanished and we were left open to anything and any issues that the terrorists wanted," Broad said in Manchester on Wednesday.

The CCTV footage also shows some more similarities to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

In both the attacks the gunmen are carrying their deadly fire power in rucksacks, shooting randomly, and splitting into groups of two.

But more than ever, the critical evidence has become an obvious cause of shame for the Pakistani government, already under fire for failing to secure the honoured guests they had vowed to protect.

Security Expert B Raman said that the attack is a serious act of negligence as there was no security arranged for the players en route to the stadium.

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