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.
Jilani said 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 Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday.
‘We had provinces in charge of security which was a mistake. We had no problems in Karachi and the first two days of the Test in Lahore it was fine, but obviously there were lapses which saw the ugly incident happen. It was entirely a provincial responsibility.’
Jilani 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 added.
‘We will give the highest priority to security people and provinces. Whatever happened has happened, we must now look forward.’
Jilani, however, rejected a claim from ICC match referee Chris Broad that members of the security force or government knew of the impending attack. ‘That is preposterous to say anyone knew about it,’ he said.
It may seem farfetched but Jilani said Pakistan still hopes the International Cricket Council (ICC) 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.
‘We will use persuasive diplomacy in our negotiations with the ICC and our fellow cricketing nations (to host international matches in future). We have to deal with this situation patiently. We are all friends in the cricket community and we must have trust in each other.’