Page last updated at 18:06 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

Bloggers react to Lahore attacks

The Pakistani blogosphere is buzzing with comments on the attack on Sri Lanka's cricket team in Lahore. In general there is a sense of shock and great sorrow for the dead policemen and a driver, and the injured cricketers.

Mourners lay wreaths at the site of the attack in Lahore
Mourners lay wreaths at the site of the attack in Lahore

While there is much speculation over who is to blame, many are appalled that cricket has been targeted.

'International cricket is dead'

On the site Ahsan says the attackers have struck at the cultural heart of Pakistan:

"…international cricket is dead in Pakistan for the medium term...nothing binds Pakistanis quite like the love of cricket, and if anything was going to convince the majority of pundits, public figures, and average Pakistanis of the threat of capitulation or indifference in this struggle, it would be an attack on cricket."

On the same site another blogger, AKS, reflects the mood of condolence:

"The city has seen more violence in the past year and a half than probably ever before. The targets have ranged from organs of the state to the World Performing Arts Festival....and now the Sri Lankan team. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Lahore."

Sadness for Sri Lanka

As well as the many paying their respects to the dead and injured, there is also a discussion thread entitled "We are sorry Sri Lanka". The messages reflect the common mood of many of the blogs and discussions:

"My heart is sad today for Sri Lanka, the nation and its generosity at a time when no country would visit Pakistan. I salute your cricketers. I am ashamed. And I am sorry."

In addition eyewitnesses have posted their accounts. Farhan Janjua was attending a university class at the time of the attack. On his blog he describes the shock of hearing the gunshots and the growing tension which he and his classmates felt:

"Everyone including our instructor got scared and he was kind enough to let us go…. Rumours kept on coming from all over that there were huge casualties in this attack, few said that Sri Lankans were also amongst them."

Farhan says : "My heart relaxed to know that Sri Lankans are safe, but at the same time, my heart started mourning to hear about the casualties of local policemen."

'Another blow'

Other bloggers like cyclewalabanda think that the game should never have happened.

"We all know that plans are afoot to destabilize and isolate Pakistan, tourists are obvious and easy targets. Kill a tourist and demonize Islam and Pakistan.

This event is so sad and shameful on so many levels. Worst of all, as alas only visitors to Pakistan know, it's yet another blow to our wonderful tradition of Islamic hospitality."

Some bloggers are critical of the authorities handling of the event. A for [pine]Apple writes :

"What I, and almost every concerned Pakistani, refuses to see is how come 12 attackers, armed with Kalashnikov, grenades and rocket launchers, attack a bus for 15-20 minutes and no one comes to cover the scene? If media can reach the scene within minutes; why couldn't rangers, commandos or even PAF's fighter jets have got there?

Silence in Sri Lanka?

In general the Sri Lankan blogosphere is strangely quiet - something Ajith P Perera picks up on.

"It is more than 48 hours since Sri Lankan cricketers were attacked horribly by Pakistani terrorists in Lahore and the silence in Colombo surprises me. It is almost deafening.

For a moment imagine the reaction if the same happened here in Colombo…but I do not see anyone seriously condemning the attack. I also do not see anyone angry. Isn't that surprising?"

The Sri Lanka players were airlifted from the Gaddafi Stadium to the National Stadium in Lahore
The Sri Lanka players were airlifted from the Gaddafi Stadium to the National Stadium in Lahore

'Last straw?'

In India bloggers are also concerned for the future of Pakistani cricket, as Madhu Soman writes :

"It will indeed be sad if international cricket is denied to Pakistan, not just to the players but to the public too. It's a game that has been a metaphor for peace between India and Pakistan. The sport has been held hostage for that very reason too."

N Ananthanarayanan writes that until Tuesday's attack "A billion fans in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka - all test nations - have used the game of cricket as a balm for their myriad problems."

But this event marks a watershed for the future of international cricket:

"With teams such as Australia, New Zealand and England already refusing to travel to Pakistan, will the attack be the last straw for sub-continent teams in the years to come? It looks like Pakistan cricket is set for a long winter."

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