Rudd denounces 'doubly atrocious' Lahore attack
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has condemned yesterday's "shameful and cowardly" attack on a convoy carrying Sri Lanka's cricket team in the Pakistani city of Lahore.
Seven Pakistanis died and nine people, including seven players, were injured when gunmen ambushed the convoy as it was travelling to a Test match at the city's Gaddafi stadium.
Earlier today Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said the attack proved that terrorism now posed an "existentialist" threat to Pakistan.
Mr Rudd said the attack was a reminder of the continuing threat posed by terrorists.
"It deserves universal condemnation, it gets condemnation from Australia," he said.
"Cricket occupies a special place in the hearts of sports lovers and Australians, but also sports lovers across the world.
"This therefore is a doubly atrocious act given that it has been perpetrated against those who give us, as Australians, and sports lovers across the world, such pleasure in watching the game.
"It reminds us again of the absolute requirement to maintain vigilance in our counter terrorism measures both in Australia and around the world."
Other world leaders have also condemned the deadly attack.
During a press conference with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, US President Barack Obama spoke broadly about the fight against terrorism in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"Obviously we're deeply concerned, but let me just make a general statement," he said.
"Both Great Britain and the United States share a deep interest in ensuring that neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan are safe havens for terrorist activity.
"The truth is that the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated. The safe havens for Al Qaeda remain in the frontier regions of Pakistan."
In Washington, US State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid was more forthcoming about America's outrage.
"We condemn this vicious attack on innocent civilians but also on the positive relations that Pakistan and Sri Lanka are trying to enjoy," he said.
"This is not just an attack on individuals. This is an attack on peaceful, normal relations."
There has been no claim of responsibility but some Sri Lankan officials fear a possible link with the military offensive against ethnic Tamil rebels in the island's north.
Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani described his country's relations with Sri Lanka as "very good", but he has conceded Pakistan's image has suffered.
"Our relations with Sri Lanka are very good. They came here on our invitation and their protection was our responsibility," he said.
"I feel that this incident has humiliated the country and the whole nation. This has tarnished the prestige of Pakistan."
'State of war'
The head of Pakistan's Interior Ministry, Rehman Malik said his country was 'in a state of war' while also suggesting the masked gunmen may have come from outside Pakistan.
"The democracy of the country is being undermined," he said.
"Pakistan is under ... aggression and the father has been targeted with the view to bring bad name to the country and I do not overrule foreign handling."
Pakistani security analyst and retired army Lieutenant-General Talat Masood says the attack shows a frightening shift.
"I think it is shocking in a way, especially against cricket," he said.
"Pakistan is one of those countries which loves cricket so it is a great shock not only to those people who are there in Lahore but also to the entire country and, I'm certain, the entire international community.
"Sports is the one area where we thought that the militants should not be operating and it appears that they are [not] sparing any area."
Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says the assumption that sport is out of bounds from terrorism no longer applies.
"This makes the point, irrespective of what position you occupy, irrespective of what pursuit you follow, you are not immune from terrorist activity and that is why Australia and international community need to stare down the terrorist threat that we see in this region," he said.
"I made the point when I returned from Pakistan that the very clear impression I was left with ... [was] that Pakistan now understood that what it was dealing with was not just a problem associated with the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, which had implications for Afghanistan, but this was very much an existentialist threat to Pakistan itself."
Stumps Day 3: AUS 352 & 3/292 (87.0), SAF 138
|1st Innings - Australia||10/352|
|1st Innings - South Africa||9/138|
|2nd Innings - Australia||3/292|
Stumps Day 3: WIN 4/349 (109.0), ENG 6d/546