An update on this story: Epic incompetence, something more, or a bit of both? A Keystone Kops Alert at the very least, for an incident that is rather emblematic of Pakistan’s response to jihadists.
“Sri Lankan cricketers: ‘We were sitting ducks,’ says Chris Broad, accusing Pakistan security services,” by Nigel Bunyan for the Telegraph, March 4:
Chris Broad, the umpire and former England batsman, has condemned the Pakistan security forces for leaving him and his colleagues “like sitting ducks” amid the terrorist attack on Sri Lanka’s cricketers in Lahore.
Mr Broad, 51, father of the current England Bowler, Stuart Broad, lay terrified in a minibus in the the Pakistani city as it was hit by up to 25 bullets on Wednesday.
The van carrying Broad and other match officials to the Gaddafi Stadium for the third day of the second Test came under fire as gunmen also targeted the Sri Lanka team bus.
Yet despite earlier promises that match officials and players would be treated to “presidential-style security”, scores of police and soldiers appeared to simply melt away as the terrorists launched their attack.
The officials were abandoned by local police when their driver was shot dead in the attack, Broad said.
Mr Broad and his party only realised they had been abandoned when a passer-by took the place of their murdered driver and took them on towards safety at the Gaddafi Stadium.
“At every junction from the hotel to where we were attacked there were police in uniforms with handguns controlling the traffic,” he said.
“How did the terrorists come up to the roundabout and start firing and these guys did nothing about it?
“There were plenty of police there but these terrorists came in, did what they wanted to do and then got out of there.”
He added: “When we saw the TV pictures we could quite clearly see our white van and an ambulance in the middle of the roundabout, with the terrorists shooting either past the van or into it.
“There were no security forces to be seen. They had clearly left the scene, leaving us to be sitting ducks.
“I am extremely angry that we were offered high security and in our hour of need that security vanished.”
Shortly before the Test Match phase of the tour he had expressed concerns over security, because he had “an inkling” that “something might happen”.
However, he had been assured by Zakir Khan, Pakistan’s director of cricket operations, that “everything would be fine”.
In the aftermath of the attack Imran Khan, the politician and former cricketer, had said he felt “embarrassed” by the level of security afforded the Sri Lankan team.
“He would not have accepted it, and we should not have been exposed to it.”
Mr Broad, who was still so traumatised that he had not slept since the morning of the attack, recalled the irony that as the terrorists roamed at will an “elite” policeman opened a side door in the van and dived on top of him to take shelter…