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'Serious' terror threat to World Cup final

Last updated on: March 21, 2011 15:05 IST

'Serious' terror threat to World Cup final

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Vicky Nanjappa
The latest terror alert concerning the cricket world cup has been issued by the Union Home Ministry. The threat about an attack planned by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Jamaat-e-Ahle-Sunnat is specific to the world cup final, which will be played on April 2.

Almost a month before the world cup, Intelligence Bureau sources had said that the most important cricketing event would be a target for terrorists.

Although the official line that the Lashkar tows while making its anger public against the game is jihad (holy war), the real reason is that the attention the outfit would get out of such an attack is immense.

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Image: World Cup

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According to the IB, the Lashkar has roped in the Jamaat-e-Ahle-Sunnat, which had warned Pakistanis against offering prayers for the assasinated Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, to carry out the attack

The Home ministry advisory on these two groups coming together to carry out an attack indicates a deadly cocktail of Islamic fanatics.

The IB says that the JAS is just another offshoot of the Lashkar. It was predictable that more such splinter groups would come out in the wake of the international pressure on Pakistani intelligence agency Inter Services Intelligence to shut down the Lashkar.



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If one looks closely at the JAS, it mainly comprises religious scholars who were originally part of the Lashkar. For quite some time now, the Lashkar has been making it clear that cricket will not be accepted in Pakistan.

They had always been vocal about the fact that Pakistan should never play cricket. They put this ideology into practice with the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team some time back. The incident had ensured that cricket in Pakistan was banned for a long time.

The Lashkar needs to justify each attack for public consumption, the IB says, adding that this is when these religious scholars come into the picture. They justify the attack either by connecting it to God or religion.



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In the case of cricket, the Lashkar's theory is simple.They feel that each and every Pakistani should focus all his attention on jihad. They find that there is more frenzy in Pakistan towards cricket than jihad.

The Lashkar stated while people won't spend a single day for jihad, but can sit and waste upto five days watching cricket.

Security agencies, however, rubbish this ideology and say that the only intention in their mind is mass murder.

Sport has always been a soft target and they are well aware that providing security around stadiums is no easy job.



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The entire security pattern apart from screening and detection revolves round intelligence who will need to give very specific information about the movement of these terrorists.

Coming back to the case on hand, the fact that the Lashkar has roped in the JAS is another indication that they want this organisation to gain recognition in the international community.

They are clearly not content with the world knowing the JAS as a small fanatic group and would like the world to know about their capabilities. While the Lashkar would also want some of the heat on it to reduce, it would also want to create a new group, which would carry out its activities in their name. Hence, the birth of the JAS.



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The intercepts pertaining to the existing threat suggests that 17 JAS terrorists have purchased tickets and would be travelling to the venue and carry out a fidayeen-styled attack.

Currently, all venues where the matches are being played are under tight scrutiny and the names of all the ticket holders are also being scanned.

When a police source was contacted, he said that the threat was serious.



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"We would need the cooperation of all those present at these venues. We know that it is hard for them to keep down their excitement levels but they would have to cooperate and also inform the security about any suspicious movement in the interest of over all security," he said.

In addition to this, Intelligence sources also say that police officials should not focus all their attention just on the cricket ground.

The team routes and important locations of the place in which the games are being played could also come under attack. Hence, a state of high alert needs to be maintained everytime a game is played in the cricket world cup.



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