Police inspect the site of a blast that occurred during the cricket match between Pakistan and Zimbabwe, near Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan (Reuters)
I found out about a suicide blast in the vicinity of Gaddafi Stadium, Pakistan yesterday not from mainstream media but from a tweet to me which read, “one policeman killed, six person injured in a suicide attack outside Gaddafi stadium in Lahore during Pak Zim cricket series.” Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid later confirmed that the incident was indeed a “suicide attack” and a sub-inspector who had allegedly stopped the assault alongside a civilian named Rizwan had both been killed. I tweeted,
PAKISTAN CRICKET… the ‘power transformer blast’ at Gaddafi stadium was apparently a grapple with a suicide bomber!!!
There had been concerns as to whether the cricket team from Zimbabwe would travel to Pakistan in the first place because of security concerns however they decided to make the trip. After the foiled attack, ESPNcricinfo confirmed the following via a PCB spokesman,
“the tour will go ahead as planned and the Zimbabwe team will continue with their usual activities today, though they are not training today. They will play the third match on Sunday and subsequently will fly back in the wee hours of Monday.”
See following link for more information on the cricket and security,
There was reason for the Zimbabwe team to be cautious as on 3 March 2009, a bus carrying members of the Sri Lankan cricket team was fired upon by 12 gunmen, near the Gaddafi Stadium. Six members of the national team were injured along with 6 Pakistani policemen and 2 civilians lost their lives.
When I first tweeted the news of the most recent blast which was confirmed soon after by DAWN media, I was shocked at the response I got from 2 contacts on social media. One person messaged me saying, “kindly share news plz ??? Don’t propagate false news plz” then, “delete your last post”… Another contact asked, “I am sorry to say why you are propagating to defame our country…. please stop it.”
It turned out that those claiming the blast was an “electricity transformer” were the people giving out incorrect information though DAWN stated that,
“the information minister praised the actions of Pakistan Broadcasters Association for ‘covering up’ the news while the cricket match was ongoing so as not to spread panic.”
I resent being falsely accused however when people do not even know what is going on in their own country! Who has the right to withhold news? What if there had been a bomb in the stadium, would the cricket have continued without evacuation?
The news of the incident was not entirely unexpected. I had noted a comment on social media from a well-known militant about welcoming the Zimbabwe team to Pakistan accompanied by photos of armed men in the dark though to date no one has claimed responsibility for the blast.
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.