Attack on Sri Lankan cricketers condemned

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office condemned the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team on Tuesday, saying the enemies of Pakistan-Sri Lanka friendship conducted it.

“Pakistan strongly condemns the terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore,” it said in a statement. It said full investigations were being carried out into the attack and the perpetrators of the heinous crime would be given exemplary punishment. “A special investigation team has been constituted for this purpose,” it said, adding the government was making necessary arrangements for the safe return of the cricket team to Sri Lanka and was in touch with Sri Lankan authorities.

Separately Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi strongly condemned the terrorist attack and reiterated the government's resolve to “bring the perpetrators of the cowardly act to justice”. He also conveyed his condolences to the families of those police officials who lost their lives in the incident. He said the people of Pakistan were proud of their commitment and dedication to their duty. Also on Tuesday, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ijaz Butt told APP he strongly condemned the incident, saying he was deeply saddened by the loss of life. He also regretted the sport of cricket had suffered because of this incident.

NWFP Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani also condemned the terrorist attack, and expressed deep shock and grief over the loss of precious lives. In a condolence message issued here on Tuesday, he said the act speaks of the barbaric and retrogressive mindset of the elements involved in the heinous crime.

NWFP Chief Minister Ameer Haidar Khan Hoti strongly condemned the attack, terming it an attempt to tarnish Pakistan’s image at an international level and to worsen Pakistan’s relations with friendly countries. He also expressed sorrow over the death of police personnel and injuring of guests players in the terrorist commotion.

Meanwhile, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain termed the attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore as “brutal, callous and naked terrorism” and said he was saddened and shocked over this tragic incident. In a statement issued by the party's international secretariat, the MQM leader lauded the gesture of the Sri Lankan cricketers to play in Pakistan while the rest of the world had refused to do so. He paid tributes to the martyred policemen and urged the nation to unite against fanaticism and terrorism, APP reported. Hussain also telephoned Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to convey his condolences.

Federal Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar also condemned the attack, saying the terrorists wanted to destabilise the country and tarnish its image among the comity of the nations. Reiterating the government's commitment to combating terrorism, he said such acts could not weaken the government’s resolve. Federal Information Minister Sherry Rehman told media these attacks were a plot against the Pakistan and Sri Lankan cricket teams, adding full efforts would be undertaken to expose the elements behind this conspiracy, Online reported. She said the government had no prior knowledge about a possible attack. staff report/agencies

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