WHATEVER the arguments the police might put forward in defence of their failure to pre-empt the deadly terrorist attack on the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team on the morning of Tuesday, it is hard to deny the view that it was an unforgivable security lapse. It has caused the loss of precious lives and injuries to our guests, who had bravely brushed aside warnings of danger and decided to visit Pakistan. Had the rocket and the hand grenade not missed their target and had the driver of the bus not shown skill in negotiating the way, the death toll would most likely have been much higher. The lapse has put the country to shame and ridicule before the world community and reinforced the feeling among its people that if the law enforcement agencies could not prevent the assault on the honoured guests, they simply cannot take care of their lives and property. It must not go unpunished and those responsible for planning and executing the security arrangements should be taken to task. The incident becomes all the more grave once it is known that an intelligence agency had warned the concerned authorities of the militants' designs to launch a murderous attack on the Sri Lankan players during their visit to Lahore. A most bewildering aspect of the scenario is the safe escape of what is stated to be 12 terrorists, after the police had engaged them in a shoot-out for 20 to 25 minutes. While they killed six policemen and the van driver and injured 18, including players, an umpire and a coach, they managed to get away from the scene unhurt and are so far untraced. The attack was a Mumbai replica, but apparently the Indian security forces were better equipped and trained, since they shot down all assailants, except one who was taken in custody. Suspicion of RAW's involvement has also been expressed. The authorities have maintained that the attackers were well trained and well equipped, but one wonders at their silence about the state of training and alertness of our security personnel. They must address certain questions that have remained unanswered. Where were our security men when the terrorists came in rickshaws? How could the rickshaws carry rocket launchers and all the other killer paraphernalia they possessed unchecked and unhindered? How many rickshaws would have been need to carry the human and the deadly cargo? The incident is an outright indictment of the security situation prevailing in the country. Our security personnel not only need training in the modern techniques of countering guerrilla warfare, but also the equipment required for the purpose. The mental approach evident in the listless posture of our police on duty ought to undergo a radical change. The investigators must take these aspects into reckoning.