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Pakistan criticised for 'lapses'

Sketches of suspected attackers released by Lahore police
No arrests have been made yet

Criticism has been mounting over apparent security lapses leading to Tuesday's attack on Sri Lanka's cricket team in the Pakistani city of Lahore.

Up to 14 gunmen took part in the attack which killed six policemen and a driver, and injured eight tour members.

Separately, the Pakistani police have released sketches of some of the suspected attackers.

And two Sri Lankan players wounded in the attack are recovering after surgery in Colombo, their doctors say.

President Asif Ali Zardari has vowed that the attackers will be caught, and punished "with iron hands".

There is no word on the identities or motives of the gunmen, who escaped.

'Source of embarrassment'

Reports say that, since the government had pledged to provide the highest levels of security to the Sri Lankan cricket team, the attack has undermined confidence in Pakistan's security apparatus.

We were promised high-level security and in our hour of need that security vanished
Chris Broad, ICC match referee

A Pakistani opposition lawmaker has said the incident is a "source of embarrassment at the international level".

"This government should be ashamed and make those responsible for criminal negligence in their duties accountable," Ahsan Iqbal was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

Australian cricket umpire Steve Davis, who was part of the team of referees for the match, has criticised Pakistan for failing to protect the team.

"There's a bit of anger there that we were let down - we had all sorts of assurances before and I'm sure the [Sri Lankan] team feels that way too," Mr Davis said.

"Despite all that, this was still able to happen and we were put in a very vulnerable position and felt very helpless."

Simon Taufel, another umpire who was caught up in the attack, has also criticised the lack of security.

A shattered windscreen at the scene of the attack in Lahore (03/03/2009)

"We were promised a nine [out of ten for security] and got delivered a two," Mr Taufel was quoted as telling reporters by the AFP news agency.

"The gunfire .. it just kept going. We thought, when's it going to stop? Who's going to come and save us, how are we going to get out of here? " he said.

"You tell me why supposedly 20 armed commandos were in our convoy and when the team bus got going again, we were left on our own? I don't have any answers to these questions."

Match referee Chris Broad said Pakistan had not provided adequate protection for the team.

Mr Broad, who was in the bus when it came under fire, has accused Pakistani security forces of "vanishing" during the attack.

He said he had raised concerns about security before the team travelled to Pakistan but had been promised high level security protection.

Video footage shot during the attack showed "terrorists shooting past our van, sometimes into our van - and not a sign of a policeman anywhere," said Mr Broad.

"They had gone, left the scene, and left us to be sitting ducks.

"I am extremely angry that we were promised high-level security and in our hour of need that security vanished."

Mr Broad's claims were strongly denied by Ijaz Butt, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, who referred to the policemen killed by the attackers.

Separately, two Sri Lankan cricketers who were injured in the attack have undergone surgery in a Colombo hospital, doctors say.

Tharanga Paranavitana, who had a bullet lodged in his chest, and Thilan Samaraweera, who had shrapnel in his leg, will need around six weeks to completely recover, a senior Sri Lankan sports official told the AFP.

Massive ramifications

Meanwhile, Pakistani television has broadcast what it says is footage of gunmen fleeing the scene of the attack.

Chris Broad says he is 'angry' about the lack of security

The grainy and edited footage, broadcast on Pakistan's GEO network, shows a man arriving in what appears to be a side street on a motorbike.

Masked men opened fire on the bus, killing six policemen escorting the Sri Lankans and a driver.

Seven players and an assistant coach were wounded. The team later flew back to Sri Lanka.

The attacks are expected to have massive ramifications for the cricket world, with the ICC considering whether Pakistan can co-host World Cup matches in 2011.



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