'Lankan elements funded attack on cricketers'

'Lankan elements funded attack on cricketers'

Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday said Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had told him the terrorists involved in the attack on his country’s cricket team in Lahore were funded by elements in the island.

Gilani said he had asked Rajapaksa to share more information about the funding so that Pakistan can send a team from the Interior Ministry to go into the issue further.

“In Libya, the Sri Lankan President told me that they have clues that the attack on the Lankan Team was funded from Sri Lanka. I told him that if he was willing to share these clues, we could send our officials from the Interior Ministry,” Gilain told reporters after visiting Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi at a hospital here.

Six players and 20 others were injured when the convoy of the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked by a group of terrorists outside a stadium in Lahore on March 3.

Gilani also said his government was pursuing a long term and multi-pronged strategy to root out terrorism from the country. After the successful military operation in Swat and Malakand, the government is working on an exit strategy, he said.  “The army will stay in the area till peace is completely restored. The option of building a cantonment in Swat is also on the table,” he said.

Gilani said the government is firm on its principled stand on Jammu and Kashmir and will keep on supporting people in the region.

Political reforms

To another question, he said package of political reforms was a longstanding demand of the people of Gilgit and Baltistan.

The people in Northern Areas are given internal autonomy and sovereignty in their affairs and now they have authority equal to other provinces, he added.

The prime minister said he took into confidence the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on the new status of Gilgit and Baltistan province.

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