The New Zealand cricket team has abandoned their tour of Pakistan after a suspected Al-Qaeda suicide bomber drove his explosive packed vehicle into a bus parked outside the team's hotel in Karachi.
Both the Pakistan and New Zealand teams who were staying in the Pearl Continental Hotel in Karachi, were having breakfast at the time of the attack and appear very fortunate not to have been injured, as they were due to leave the hotel and travel to the National Stadium for the commencement of the 2nd test shortly after the time of the explosion. The teams who may have been gathered outside the hotel at the time of the explosion had the attack occurred some time later than it actually did, would no doubt have suffered many casualties and possibly even a number of deaths, had it not been simply for nothing more than good fortune and luck.
The bus, which was parked close to the hotel when attacked was carrying a number of French technicians who were in Pakistan to work on a defence project with the Pakistani government and as a result of the explosion, at least 10 of the bus passengers were killed, with the bus totally destroyed and much damage done to surrounding buildings from flying shrapnel. Al-Qaeda, a terrorist organisation led by the "master of evil" himself Usama bin Laden, is the main suspect for the murderous attack according to Pakistani intelligence sources, who have stated that the target was the bus carrying the French technicians and not the cricket teams staying at the hotel.
No doubt, this near miss experienced by the New Zealand team, clearly highlights the stupidity of New Zealand cricket authorities who had decided this tour should take place even after considering the ongoing terrorist threat to foreigners in Pakistan and surrounding areas as a result of the War on Terrorism brought about by the Sept 11 attacks. The Al-Qaeda terrorist organisation have clearly indicated many times that all foreigners are a target of their vicious and murderous campaign, whose tentacles are reaching worldwide and after taking into consideration the fact, New Zealand cricket authorities still elected to travel into the "lair" of Islamic terrorism and the suspected current home of the Al-Qaeda network, one can only be left thinking, the decision of New Zealand cricket authorities to take part in the Pakistan tour were not only sheer stupidity, but also showed great contempt for the safety of the Kiwi players.
This "it can't happen to us" attitude almost backfired on the NZCB, who obviously don't realise that Al-Qaeda does not have the same attitude, sport and politics don't mix, or rather, should not be allowed to impact on each other. Fortunately, Martin Snedden of the NZCB, announced very soon after the blast that the rest of the scheduled tour had been cancelled and the Kiwi players were returning home to New Zealand immediately. Apparently, New Zealand cricket authorities had finally woken up to the fact, Pakistan is not a safe place to be at this time. Well! I guess it is always better late than never. Surely, in future the NZCB will be a little more careful in insisting tours go ahead to such places as Pakistan, when even the man on the street is able to see, such decisions are jeopardising the safety of those who attend. The NZCB may have had some false illusions about terrorist threats in the past and how these could affect the players safety, but hopefully, they have come to learn from their latest experience and realise lunatic terrorist organisations don't give any leeway, nor consider who they may kill or mame. Their agenda is purely political and if they can gain publicity for their cause, they don't care how they do it.
If anything positive has come from this incident, it is, the Australian cricket team who is due to tour Pakistan in August, has now been informed by the ACB of the concerns by them for player safety if the tour goes ahead as planned. The ACB who according to its CEO James Sutherland, "will continue to monitor the situation in Pakistan and make a decision on the likely go ahead of the tour at a date closer to the teams time of departure in August." Let's hope, the ACB is a little more on the ball than the NZCB were and come to their senses sooner rather than later and cancel this tour at the earliest possible opportunity. Australian troops are actively engaged against terrorist targets in and around Afghanistan and are likely to be for some time yet. As a result, it would be safe to say, all Australians abroad are likely to be priority targets of Al-Qaeda.....especially those stupid enough to travel into the serpents nest and expose themselves to opportunities for lunatics to martyr themselves.
So, let us all hope that James Sutherland and the rest of the Aussie Cricket Board aren't looking to contribute to the Al-Qaeda "scoreboard" of victims and make a swift decision to reschedule this tour to be played in a neutral venue outside Pakistan....NOW! Whilst their is plenty of time to rearrange such important aspects surrounding a series.
Hopefully, the ACB will have a little more foresight than the NZCB or Australian politicians who can't even agree on a definition of a terrorist threat....even with the shadow of Sept 11 still cast over the world.
Video Report of Bombing - Media Player Required
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