'We failed to provide security to SL cricketers'

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Pir Aftab Shah Jilani
Islamabad, Mar 11: Pakistan's Sports Minister Pir Aftab Shah Jilani has admitted his Government failed the Sri Lankan cricket team last Tuesday, Mar 11 by providing inadequate security, but promised it would not happen again as they seek to retain hosting rights for the 2011 World Cup.

For the first time since the terrorist attack that left seven security officials dead and members of the Sri Lankan side injured from gunfire and bombs, a government official has accepted blame and offered an explanation for the bungle that nearly killed the international touring team and devastated prospects of Pakistan hosting any fixtures in the foreseeable future.

The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Jilani as saying that the security of the squad was left to provinces, and not the Federal Government, even though all touring sides are made promises of protection by the national office.

"The Federal Government is very alive to whatever mistakes have occurred, there were lapses, I assure you it will not happen again," Jilani told the Herald last night.

"We had provinces in charge of security. We had no problems in Karachi and the first two days of the Test in Lahore it was fine, but obviously there were mistakes. It was entirely a provincial responsibility," he added.ilani said the Government would now control all security for visiting sports teams with input from provinces.

"We will organise improvements on a full scale. The Federal Government will be fully involved in this and the provinces will also be involved," he said.

"We will give the highest priority to security people and provinces. Whatever happened has happened, we must now look forward."

Sri Lanka's Australian coach Trevor Bayliss said yesterday he was still awaiting an explanation for the lack of security the team had last week after receiving rigid protection in earlier matches and tours.

Jilani rejected a claim from match referee Chris Broad that members of the security force or government knew of the impending attack.

Jilani said Pakistan still hopes the International Cricket Council will allow its scheduled matches for the next World Cup on the subcontinent to go ahead as planned.

"That is our wish, we want to keep our matches for the World Cup," Jilani said.

ANI

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