Lest We Forget: That Day at Lahore on 3rd March 2009 When Cricket was Assailed – by Michael Roberts
“Test cricket returned to Lahore on Monday for the first time since a horrific attack in 2009 saw the venue … shunned by nations …,” says Peter Lalor in his article on the Lahore Test Match in today’s (22 March 2022) AUSTRALIAN newspaper. Lalor, perhaps deliberately (?,) avoids reference to the team that underwent this terrorist attack on 3rd March 2009: Sri Lanka.
He did not need to go far to seek the horrendous details
about that attack. Ahsan Raza is umpiring the present match. He was reserve umpire for the Lahore match in March 2009 and received a bullet in his guts when the mini-van bearing officials was embraced in the terrorist assault. The mini-van driver was killed and this vehicle remained on the road as a sitting duck.** No one knows why the officials in the van were not eliminated by the Islamic terrorists who calmly mounted motor bikes and left the scene.
Remarkably, the rocket fired by their shoulder-held launcher missed the large team bus. Their gunfire did not miss and Thilan Samaraweera, Tharanga Paranavithana and Ajantha Mendis were wounded by shrapnel. But the coach-driver Mohammed Khalil held his calm and sped away guided by Tillakaratne Dilshan – who remained clear-headed and upright in the terrifying circumstances. Chris Broad was more than calm within the minibus: he administered aid on Ahsan Raza and arrested the bleeding.
Ajantha Mendis & T. Paranavithana with shrapnelk injuries
Three Cheers, then, for Broad and Raza. And for Meher Khalil, the coach driver, who kept his cool and drove the bus to the Lahore Stadium with Dilshan guiding him.
Khalil thanked by Captain Mahela when he wa ssubsequently feted in Sri Lanka
Let the striking photographs of the mayhem and subsequent recovery actions tell the story…. aided by further references…. beginning with a shot of the Sri Lankan players within the Lahore cricket stadium waiting to board a helicopter despatched by the Pakistani Airforce responding to the requests of the Sri Lankan Ambassador (a military man) in the context of ongoing military cooperation between the two forces during the prevailing civil war in Sri Lanka (cooperation so vital that the tamil Tigers attemped (unsuccessfully) to assassinate the Pakistani ambassador in Colombo).
Michael Roberts: “When Terrorism assailed Cricket at Lahore, 3 March 2009: A Cumulus Cloud of Questions,” 30 October 2017, thuppahis.com/2017/10/30/when-terrorism-assailed-cricket-at-lahore-3-march-2009-a-cumulus-cloud-of-questions/