Karachi: Lahore High Court judge Shabbar Raza Rizvi, who headed an inquiry into last year’s terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, has lambasted senior police officers for being “lax” during the deadly strike which claimed seven lives.
The judge, in his 120-page report, held a senior police officer and other police officials responsible for not providing good security to the Sri Lankan team in Lahore where they were playing a Test match.
Six Pakistani policemen and a van driver were killed and five Sri Lankan players were wounded in the attack carried out during the Test as the visiting players travelled from their hotel to the Gaddafi stadium.
Since the attack, there has been no international cricket in Pakistan and the national side has been forced to play their ‘home’ series at neutral venues.
In the report, the judge said that senior police officer Haji Habibur Rehman, who was supposed to be the overall commander of the Sri Lanka team’s security, was nowhere to be seen when the attack took place.
“I wish I had seen him marching on the road ... or at least sitting in his office before 8am,” Rizvi wrote. “Unfortunately, he only became visible and audible after the occurrence had taken place.”
Rizvi also criticised Deputy Inspector General Amjad Javed Saleemi for “dereliction of duty” after his admission that he was not sure whether police officers in the area of the attack were even on duty.
“Obviously he (Saleemi) would have only known, if he himself were there,” Rizvi wrote.
“He made contradictory statements before me and did not have moral courage to state the truth,” it is stated in the report.
Rizvi also criticised Police Superintendent Mohammad Abid and said he had fallen short in his duties.
“He had the direct responsibility, and placement of snipers on high-rise buildings is an area of his jurisdiction and he failed to do that,” he said.
The inquiry report has become a talking point after the International Cricket Council said it had yet to get it from the Pakistan Cricket Board.
The PCB, while reacting to a statement from former ICC President Ehsan Mani, said that it required government permission to send the inquiry report to the ICC and it was in the process of obtaining these permissions.