Mumbai—Ahsan Raza, the ICC umpire and one of the the survivors of the Lahore Test attack (3rd March 2009), lives very close to Lahore’s crowded Gulshan-i-Iqbal park area, where more than 70 people are reported to be killed and over 300 injured in a suicide bomb-blast on Sunday evening.
“Yes, my brother was at home. He lives just three blocks away from the site of the incident”, Ahsan’s brother, Ali Raza, speaking exclusively over telephone from Pakistan, said.
“It was my time to take her three daughters at the same spot where children usually play on different swings. I take his children for fun at this place. Fortunately, I didn’t take them on this Sunday”.
“It has been a very unfortunate incident where innocents people and children have lost their lives”. the brother said.
Ahsan Raza was seriously injured when an attack on the bus and the van carrying Sri Lankan cricket team and the ICC match officials took place He was shot twice and was in a serious condition for few months in a Lahore hospital.
“No, this time he was not frightened. Even in 2009, he proved to be a courageous man. He is a brave man. Never get frightened. He just called me and inquire about my safety”.
“It is really sad on what happened in Lahore on Sunday. The country loves cricket and we would love to see the international cricket in Pakistan and when it happens Inshaallah, government would provide maximum security”, the veteran Hanif Mohammad, speaking exclusively, added.
Afghanistan team invited
Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, who has been the coach with the Afghanistan team has been trying to invite matches between Afghanistan and Pakistan A teams.
Asghar Stanikzai-led team performed well in the recent ICC World T-20 in India.
If the tour is materialized in mid-April, one 4-day match and four ODIs’ may be played at Lahore and Karachi (two each). And yes, it may a time for Indian all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar, their bowling coach, to travel to Pakistan. India’s Ajay Jadeja was a TV analyst in Pakistan during the last Asia Cup played in Bangladesh.
The Pak cricket level is declining day by day and no new talent is emerging. If no cricket is played here, Pakistan will be a barren country on cricket”, Ali Raza, the professor by profession, said.