Sri Lanka not ruling out Tamil role in Lahore attacks

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said on Wednesday he could not rule out the possibility that Tamil Tigers were involved in the attack on his country’s cricket team in Lahore.

Seven Sri Lankan players, along with an assistant coach, were injured while eight Pakistanis, including six policemen, were killed in the attack launched as the team bus was heading to the stadium on Tuesday.

The foreign minister, who flew to Lahore to oversee the team’s evacuation, met Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

“We do not rule out,” the involvement of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as they steadily lose territory to government forces, he told a joint news conference with Qureshi.

“Desperation of LTTE is something we are all looking at.”

The Sri Lankan cricket side was in Pakistan in place of the Indian team, which pulled out of a scheduled tour following the Mumbai attacks in November that New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

The foreign minister said the investigation into the Lahore attacks was the responsibility of Pakistan and that “we have confidence in Pakistan”.

Qureshi said Pakistan had set up a special investigation committee which had “carried out very good work in very short time” but he refused to elaborate.

The attack on the island nation’s team was the first “terrorist” attack on Sri Lankans abroad, Bogollagama said.

However, he was quick to declare Pakistan “our friend”.

During his meeting with Gilani, he said that in cooperation with friendly countries like Pakistan, his government “would ensure that the LTTE terrorist’s designs to find sanctuaries abroad are foiled”, a statement said.

The meeting was attended by senior defence and interior ministry officials, including chief of military intelligence, Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the statement said. — AFP

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