Chris Broad: 'There were no security forces to be seen. They had clearly left us there to be sitting ducks...'

The cricket referee, a hero of the Lahore attacks, reveals how the terrorists got a clear shot at their target
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The Independent Online

Chris Broad, the Test cricket referee who narrowly escaped with his life in the Lahore terror attack on Tuesday, has described how his van came under heavy gunfire for several minutes after "popping sounds" were heard around the Sri Lankan team bus.

Mr Broad, who spoke at Manchester airport on his return from Pakistan yesterday, expressed a deep rage towards Pakistani security officials and criticised the country's cricket authorities and the police for "abandoning us".

"We were promised high level security and in our hour of need that security vanished and they left us to be sitting ducks," he said.

The former England batsman was in a 12-seater minibus with other match officials which left their hotel at 8.40 amon Tuesday and was following the Sri Lankan team bus as they travelled to the Gaddafi Stadium on the third morning of the second test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Other vehicles to the front, rear and side of the convoy carried their police escort, as they had on the two previous days.

Police were at every roundabout. But 500 yards from their destination, as the convoy circled the Bank Alfalah Square roundabout, the Sri Lankan bus was attacked by a dozen gunmen who also fired on the minibus behind.

The driver of Mr Broad's van, Zafar Khan, managed to park the vehicle by an ambulance for protection from the bullets. Mr Broad was behind him. Mr Khan was killed instantly by a gunshot wound. "All of a sudden I saw a blood spurt come out of his neck and the bullet must have come out the other side.

"I heard him groan and then another bullet hit him a minute or two later He was clearly dead because his foot pressed on the accelerator. Fortunately it was not in gear."

Umpire Ahsan Raza "took a bullet somewhere in the spleen and lung region", Mr Broad said. "I was lying behind him on the floor of the van and there were bullets flying all around us. A large pool of blood had spilled on to the floor and out of the van door."

Mr Broad has been praised by other umpires for shielding Mr Raza with his body to prevent him taking another bullet. But he said: "I'm not a hero. I put pressure on the wound and he was groaning and saying prayers I guess. I talked to him to give him confidence."

After eight to 10 minutes, a police commando took charge of the van and drove to the stadium. Others on the bus included Australian umpires Simon Taufel and Steve Davis, and Pakistani test umpire Nadeem Ghouri.

Seven Sri Lankan players and the team's British assistant coach Paul Farbrace were injured by the attackers who continued to fire at the escorting police cars and vans for minutes before regrouping and calmly walking away. None have been captured. Mr Broad reserved his ire for the Pakistan police, six of whom were killed in the ambush. "At some stage, an elite policeman went into the van and ended lying on top of me. It was not a particularly brave thing to do. I told him he must get us away but he said he could not drive. Another policeman opened the front door and he took the driver out unceremoniously and dumped him on the floor and drove us to the ground.

"At every junction from the hotel to where we were attacked there were police in uniforms with handguns controlling the traffic. How did the terrorists come to the roundabout and start firing and these guys did nothing?"

Mr Broad said that he had "an inkling" before the Test match leg of the tour that something might happen. "I raised my concerns with the ICC (International Cricket Council) before the tour started and they passed on those concerns to the Pakistan Cricket Board and they assured me all security would be taken care of, presidential-style security. That didn't happen."

The 51-year-old, whose son Stuart is a fast bowler for England, fears more sinister forces may have been at hand.

"On the first two days, both buses left at the same time with escorts," he explained. "[But] on this particular day the Pakistan bus left five minutes after the Sri Lankan bus. Why? It went through my mind when I was leaving the hotel, 'Where is the Pakistan bus?'

"After this happened you think, my gosh, did someone know something and hold the Pakistan bus back?"

Pakistan's cricket chief Ijaz Butt said: "How can Chris Broad say this when six policemen were killed?"