The attack by terrorists on a bus carrying the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team, in Lahore on 3rd March, has a number of aspects that do not add up. The most surprising aspect is that a dozen well-trained terrorists, armed to the teeth with weapons that included rocket propelled grenades, inflicted very little real damage, either in terms of human lives lost or destruction of property.
Consider the facts. An RPG, fired at almost point blank range, missed the bus completely. The explanation given is that the bus driver took prompt evasive action. However, it defies belief that a full sized bus could execute a turn smartly or quickly enough to outmanoeuvre a rocket traveling at several hundred miles an hour. Then a grenade thrown under the bus exploded just after the bus passed over it.
Six policemen traveling in the escort convoy were killed by terrorist bullets almost immediately after that, but according to the eyewitness account of the English match referee, no other security personnel appeared on the scene for a considerable time, allowing all twelve terrorists to escape. In fact, surveillance videos in the immediate aftermath of the attack, showed a bizarre scene. Some of the terrorists were seen almost ambling across the nearby market, while making no attempt to conceal or dispose of their weapons. Then they got onto conveniently positioned motorbikes and calmly rode away.
It is now revealed that the departure of the bus carrying the Pakistan cricket team, which was to follow directly behind the Sri Lankan team, was deliberately delayed by a policemen, who has subsequently gone missing.
It looks, therefore, that the terror attack was stage managed: a show put on for the benefit of the international media. The questioned to be now asked is why?
One plausible explanation is that the Lahore attack was staged to divert the attention of the international community away from the Mumbai terror attack on 26/11. The Pakistan government has come under a lot of heat after the Mumbai attacks, particularly from their main patron, the United States. It’s plausible that by staging this apparently mock attack, Pakistan is again emphasizing that they too are the victims of terrorism and, consequently, need even more largesse from America to combat it.
Another reason could be a form of payback to India for pressurizing Pakistan to admit that the Mumbai attackers were Pakistani; and probably sponsored by that country’s intelligence agencies. Already several Pakistani officials have made statements hinting that the Lahore attack had India’s hand on it: and that some of the recovered weapons had Indian markings.
Whatever the real reason, Pakistan has certainly succeeded in turning itself – in one fell swoop – from an aggressor to a victim. Whether the world falls for this, only time will tell.