Finally, justice came! A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Wednesday indicted Six members of outlawed Lashkar-e- Jhanghvi (LeJ) terror group accused of carrying out a deadly terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in March 2009.
During an in-camera proceedings at Kot Lakhpat Jail, the accused continued to plead not guilty. The judge summoned prosecution witnesses on June 30 after adjourning the hearing.
Three of the accused, Zubair, Abdul Wahab and Adnan, are serving imprisonment in the jail while Obaidullah, Javed, and Ibrahim were out on bail.
The court had already declared Mohsin Rasheed and Abdul Rahman as absconders. The accused had attacked the Sri Lankan team which was touring Pakistan in 2009.
The alleged mastermind of the terror attack, Malik Ishaq, was killed last year in July during a crossfire between the personnel of Counter-Terrorism Department and the militants who tried to free their leader from the custody of the force in Muzaffargarh. Gulberg police had registered a case against Ishaq and others for their involvement in the attack.
In March 2009, the bus which was carrying Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked by the Taliban and LeJ militants with sophisticated weapons and grenades at Liberty Chowk, near Qaddafi Stadium Lahore. Sri Lanka were on their way to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore for the third day of the second Test on March 3. The match was abandoned, Sri Lanka left the country and other international teams, already reluctant to tour Pakistan because of security concerns in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the US, refused even to consider touring.
Seven Lankan players including captain that time Mahela Jayawardene, then vice-captain Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera, Tharanga Paranavitana and Chaminda Vaas were injured whereas six Pakistani policemen escorting the team bus were killed in the attack. Attackers had a plan to take the cricket team hostage to get some arrested commanders of TTP released.
The terror attack eventually plunged Pakistan into sporting isolation, the cricket-mad country now looks as far away as ever from hosting international matches.