- guardian.co.uk, Thursday 5 March 2009 13.27 GMT
Pakistan‘s embattled cricket authorities launched a searing attack today on Chris Broad, the English match referee who criticised the security provided for the ill-fated Sri Lanka test match in Lahore.
The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board called a special press conference, seemingly just to respond to Broad, who yesterday castigated the Pakistani authorities, accusing the security services of fleeing the scene and leaving the visitors as “sitting ducks”.
“If there was no security then how come six policemen died at the scene and 10 were injured?” said a furious Ijaz Butt, chairman of the PCB, at today’s press conference.
“Chris Broad was saved. A commando jumped on him and he was the one hit by a bullet.”
Butt said Broad’s allegations were “totally fabricated”. The Pakistani board is to lodge a formal complaint over Broad to the International Cricket Council, the sport’s governing body. Broad had come to Pakistan as a neutral match referee for the series against Sri Lanka.
Among Broad’s criticisms was the fact that the Pakistani team did not leave the hotel at the same time as the Sri Lankans and the cricket officials, but instead left later.
“After this happened, you start to think, did someone know something and held the Pakistan bus back?” Broad said, further criticising the police present for not returning fire or capturing anyone.
According to Butt, the Pakistan team bus always travelled some way behind the Sri Lankans during the tour.
Butt said Broad was “all praise” for the security for the one-day Sri Lanka-Pakistan game, which took place in January. The same security was in place this week, Butt said, when the terrorists struck.
“Now that same Chris Broad, I think he’s gone dizzy in the head. He’s saying such wrong things. He hasn’t said one thing that’s correct … These were obnoxious comments by him.”
Broad was travelling in a minibus immediately behind the Sri Lankan bus. The driver of the minibus was killed, while a Pakistani umpire in the vehicle was critically wounded.
Broad and two Australian umpires in the minibus were not hurt. The Australians have also been highly critical of the security arrangements.
Six police died in the ambush and around 16 were injured, including six members of the Sri Lankan team and an English assistant coach. “Our people were injured, our policemen died,” said Butt. “If someone is complaining who emerged without a scratch, he has no business doing so.”