One thing is clear. The "commando" operation in Lahore's Liberty Chowk was not an attack on Sri Lankan cricket team or on Pakistan's cricket future. It was an attack on Pakistan itself. It was a dare-devil "surgical" strike in the heart of Pakistan's second largest city reminiscing so much of the November 26 terrorist attacks in India's second city of Mumbai. It had the same signature and fingerprint, and almost an identical script. The body language of the gunmen showed no difference. By all reckonable accounts, it was Mumbai Act Two. The only difference was that in Mumbai, the bizarre terrorist drama lasted for three days, while in Lahore the operation was over in thirty minutes. In Mumbai, all of the assailants except one were killed. The lone survivor, Ajmal Kasab, allegedly a Pakistani national, was captured and is in India's custody. The total death toll in the Mumbai carnage was over 170. In Lahore, no one knows the exact number of perpetrators but on the basis of visual footages available, there were at least eight individuals involved in the operation which took eight lives including those of six elite but most "ill-equipped" police escorts. But this statistics is of no relevance. What matters is that both in Mumbai and in Lahore, there was a blatant state failure in preventing the terrorists' unhindered access to their targets. In Mumbai, ten heavily-armed individuals managed smooth sailing into the crowded metropolis to take the whole city hostage for seventy two hours and wreaked havoc. In Lahore, it was an equally reckless "commando-style" operation by a group of highly trained gunmen. Like Mumbai, the gunmen at Liberty carried out their "mission" with little or no fear of death or capture. The state failure in Lahore was however more brazen and highly vociferous. The live coverage by a television channel located in the very area of the scene and subsequent CCTV footages are proof enough of flagrant security lapses and big loopholes. We saw terrorists wearing backpacks, armed with guns and grenades, split into pairs and moving swiftly while shooting freely at their targets and changing positions at the Liberty roundabout, the largest intersection of multiple roads and service lanes in Lahore. The shootout continued for nearly thirty minutes before the gunmen disappeared in the adjacent areas. Once they dropped their weapons, the gunmen were "clean" enough to melt away into the nearby streets and alleys. On the footages, the scene of the deserted street in the area which the gunmen used as their launching pad and also for their post-operation exit from the scene defied imagination. They were moving around with noticeable ease and confidence. There was a curious calm and total abandonment in the area. Where were the local dwellers and shopkeepers or their security watch guards? One other common feature between the Mumbai and Lahore attacks is the India-Pakistan dimension. India lost no time in raising its right hand finger at Pakistan for the 26/11 tragedy. It used the occasion for spontaneous Pakistan bashing while also seeking to shift the blame for its own domestic failures and gross security lapses. Pakistan on its part not only condemned the Mumbai attacks as an act of reprehensible terrorism but also offered full cooperation in joint investigation. But then in its subsequent reactions, it became defensive and apologetic. Likewise here in Lahore, many people including media commentators and analysts took no time in pointing their finger of suspicion at India for masterminding the 3/3 terrorist attacks as a revenge for the 26/11 tragedy. This perception was later reinforced by a documentary revelation that the Punjab government had in fact been warned in advance by its Crime Investigation Department (CID) on January 22 of an Indian plot to target the Sri Lankan team during its visit to Pakistan. According to CID's source report, India's intelligence agency RAW had planned an operation to attack the Sri Lankan team while travelling between the hotel and the stadium or at their hotel during their stay. Whatever the authenticity of this report, the attack did take place precisely as allegedly stated in the report. Despite a plethora of media reports and comments alluding to India's involvement, there has been not a single accusation so far from the government implicating India in the incident. That perhaps is the correct approach until the truth is bared. But will the truth be ever bared? No, not in Pakistan. We have been a scene of recurring violence and suicide attacks almost as a daily routine. The tragedy is that in our country, we have never been able to prevent even the avoidable tragedies, nor are we known to have the ability to probe and bare the truth behind these tragedies. No one trusts our government's capability to ensure credible and conclusive investigations. We expect the UN to do this for us. We are not faithful to ourselves. How can we bare the truth? Any truthful investigation of a terrorist attack will have to first identify its perpetrators and their objective? For attacks at Liberty, it is absolutely necessary to trace and apprehend the culprits. How were they able to access their target so easily? Are the killers still at large in search of other targets in the country? Were the security arrangements for the visiting cricket team adequate and effective? How long did the police take to appear on the scene? These are some of the basic questions that will need to be probed. Whether or not we have any professional grasp on these matters, we will have to find answers to these questions if we are sincere in determining the truth and bringing all those responsible for the 3/3 tragedy to justice. Regrettably, our performance in these matters does not inspire much confidence or credibility. Given its dismal record, we cannot even trust the government's ability to prevent or avert future terrorist attacks in the country. Why are we then so keen to host foreign cricket teams or major ICC events? We had been trying since last year to allure unwilling cricket teams and reluctant cricketers to our country by offering them a paradigm framework of "foolproof" security arrangements while in Pakistan. No one took the bait. The Aussies did not come for their scheduled tour in March last year. Despite all the "Hollywood" scenarios drawn by the PCB, they decided not to risk the lives of their cricketers. Later in September, the ICC Champions Trophy was shifted from Pakistan for security reasons to be held elsewhere this year. No one could ignore Pakistan's global perception of a country categorised today as the "most violent and most insecure" country in the world and a "most dangerous" nation on earth. Even the Indians whom we tried to rope in to fill the gap refused to come. It was understandable. No one could trust our security skills, all the lofty assurances by the PCB notwithstanding. Poor Sri Lanka, itself hoping to host the Champions Trophy later this year as an alternative venue, could not refuse. The PCB assured them of a VVIP security cover normally reserved for heads of state. This clearly was not the case in Lahore. We failed to give the Sri Lankans even the bare minimum security not to talk of presidential security. Their motorcade on its fateful journey did not have even the security of an ordinary government functionary. Only six "elite" force policemen were escorting the team when it was attacked. They were all killed saving their guests. They valiantly sacrificed their lives but those who placed them in a position of "sitting ducks" remain unscathed. The provincial government was doubtless too busy in manipulating the political scene. It is rightly believed that if the security had been foolproof, perhaps the very incident could have been averted. There would have been no attackers and no casualties. No matter what the governor has to say on his administration's performance, there were clear security lapses that allowed the attacks at Liberty. Why doesn't anyone in the government take the responsibility for the gross security failure? In India, the union home minister as well the Maharashtra State deputy chief minister resigned immediately after the Mumbai attacks. No heads seem to be rolling in Pakistan. No one ever has had the guts to come forward and accept responsibility in such tragedies. Perhaps there is no such norm in our system. It is time we put passion aside and accepted the reality that Pakistan is no longer a secure sporting venue. Let us be truthful to ourselves and accept that in a country as unsafe and violent as ours, there is no room for hosting foreign teams or world cricket tournaments. Let us play cricket with ourselves or with others in their countries unless we prefer blood on our hands or until we are free of the terrorist scourge. The writer is a former foreign secretary