The cricket playing nations that refused to accept the guarantees of the Pakistani authorities for the safety of their players must be taking a sigh of relief today and feeling absolved for their decision. As the coach transporting the Sri Lankan cricket team to resume their third day's play on the morning of March 3 took a turn to enter Gaddafi Stadium at Liberty round about, their convoy was ambushed by terrorists from three directions. The images of two of the terrorists captured on the CCTV cameras installed at the corner showed them wearing bullet proof or suicide jackets and firing shots from their assault rifles. Five Sri Lankan cricketers are reported injured, one reserve match umpire in critical condition, five or six security personnel killed and several others injured. The last ball for an international cricket match in Pakistan has been bowled for some time to come as the Sri Lankan team was airlifted by an army helicopter from the Gaddafi Stadium to the Haj terminal at Lahore airport, from where they were flown out to Colombo by a special chartered flight after emergency treatment to the injured players. Sri Lanka was the only country in the entire cricket world that gallantly accepted our assurances and allowed their team to visit a grateful Pakistan for the three one day and two test series, despite pressures from the Indian government to call off the tour. Fortunately, the one day series and Karachi test passed peacefully but certain elements had plans of their own to strike the final blow on Pakistan's credibility as a nation in control of its affairs. A handful of combat trained attackers armed with guns, rockets and grenades surprised and engaged the unsuspecting police contingent shielding the convoy, in a gunfight that lasted about twenty five minutes. During all this time no other reinforcements arrived from the nearby posts to surround and apprehend the miscreants, who managed to escape unhurt from the scene shedding their bags full of arms and ammunition on the way reportedly at fourteen different locations. The police chief and the administration promptly arrived on the scene and could not resist the temptation of sounding knowledgeable by making statements to the television reporters that were based on pure speculation and half-baked. The versions of the mode of transport used by the attackers changed from CNG rickshaws to motor cycles, a van or a white car. The governor declared his commitment to capture or kill the attackers suspected to belong to the same group that planned the 26/11 Mumbai carnage. The inspector general praised the bravery of the martyrs. The district nazim made an appearance a few hours later so as not to be left behind in television coverage. However, there was none with the moral courage to accept responsibility for the security lapse, for the deaths and injuries to so many in the first ever attack on a cricket team anywhere in the world and for the irreparable damage to Pakistan's capacity rating to securely hold any international sporting event in the near future. Is this the level of security that we could manage to provide to the Sri Lankan cricket players that bravely took a deliberate risk by agreeing to play in Pakistan? What good is the fleet of bullet proof cars available with the government, if it could not be utilised to ensure the safety of the visitors instead of transporting them in coaches with huge glass windows at a high elevation? Did any one seriously consider the dividends our nation could have reaped by staging a secure successful tour by an enormously enhanced image of Pakistan worldwide that could have opened the way for many such sporting events and could have dispelled the fear of many foreigners to visit Pakistan for business or pleasure? The unobtrusive arrival of a dozen or so terrorists with their heavy weaponry, stationing themselves strategically for the attack, successfully accomplishing their mission and making a clean get away, casts grave doubts on the competence and seriousness of our security forces and administration to attend to matters that are of real national importance. Where was our intelligence network that should have been on a 24/7 alert to ensure nothing goes wrong in the successful holding of this series? Were they so resourceless and clueless to the dangers and could gather no human or electronic intelligence to warn or prevent this attack? Did they really allocate the priority to the safe passage of the cricketers it deserved or were they simply caught napping? This failure to protect the visiting sports dignitaries is a national disaster that will further add to our isolation in the world community. Unfortunately, most sections of our society and individuals alike have developed an indifference to national issues, confined to pursue our own independent agendas and guarding our personal interests in an 'I am alright Jack' attitude. Every one is pulling the nation in a different direction as we have failed to agree on a clear definition of national interest and national priorities. We have no fear left of accountability of our wrongdoings or incompetence. Will we let this national catastrophe also pass without a thorough investigation and without taking action against those found responsible for negligence in discharging their duties? The writer is an engineer and an entrepreneur E-mail: