After the incident in Lahore, many of them have written to me in person – but this one below just blew me away.
As I read these letters one by one, I could feel the warmth and sincerity of these words. I could feel the pain in their hearts and I could feel the tears forming in my eyes. I know these people, and I can understand how they feel.
The least I can do, is to publish these letters here – hoping that the word gets spread around in Sri Lanka. As a Sri Lankan, as a cricket fan, I do not want to forget 1996. And I will not forget Pakistan.
Here’s to the friendship, and here’s to the spirit of the game!
Dear Sri Lankans,
This is only a very small representation of how the millions in Pakistan feel about this most unfortunate incident. We in Pakistan are truly sorry that the courageous bunch of cricketers from Sri Lanka who defied all odds and still ventured their way to support cricket in Pakistan had to experience such trauma.
We salute you for your courage!
Despite what happened you have shown us what a great nation you are.
We are humbled by your magnanimity.
We as a nation are truly remorseful, apologetic and sad.
Sorry, dear Sri Lankans!
We would be grateful if you will kindly forward this compilation of letters to as many Sri Lankans that you know.
I believe I am expressing sentiments of every single Pakistani when I say kudos to the Sri Lankan team and to the Sri Lankan nation.
We are highly grateful to the Sri Lankan team for coming over and playing cricket with us at a time when all other countries refused. No words can express the sorrow and regret we feel for the atrocious and heinous act committed by perpetrators of hate and terror.
Thank you for your support and bravo for the courage shown in the line of fire.
i know bus no.177 will take me to colombo from battaramulla. i know sliced bread will cost me twice as much as unsliced bread. i know what a gecko sounds like. i know pambuu is sinhalese for snake. i know what poya day is. i know i shouldn’t leave clothes out on the line because it can rain any time. And i know all of this because i spent 5 weeks working in and exploring Sri Lanka.
What i don’t know is how to apologize, or if i will ever be able to meet a Sri Lankan in the eye. When sorry isn’t enough and shame knows no bounds, yet I find no other words to say to the people of the country that's left me with a lifetime of memories.
i am sorry.
we are sorry.
our heads are forever bowed in shame.
Leena S Naqvi
The cricket incident was extremely unfortunate and it is a game which should not be politicized in this manner.
Regarding the reaction from the Sri Lankan people, I have watched the major news channels all week including BBC, Sky News, Al Jazeera, India's NDTV, Geo, ARY etc. and my first impression was that the Sri Lankan authorities and people have been unanimous in expressing their goodwill to the Pakistani authorities/public in dealing with the aftermath of the incident.
To date, I have not seen any report in which they have spoken ill, condemned or been belligerent in any way towards Pakistan despite being the injured party and despite international and national criticism of the security arrangements in Pakistan. This indeed, shows their humble and gracious attitude. A big lesson indeed is to be learnt by all of us by the attitude shown by the Sri Lankan people.
Wish you all the best.
Ashamed and Sad
To the people of Sri Lanka,
Even though I am not an avid sports fan, I have always appreciated the ability of sports to bring people together. As a development worker I appreciate the role of sports especially amongst our youth. Today when energies are being channelled down paths of destruction and terror, I feel that sports such as Cricket need to be promoted even more. We all enjoy a good game of cricket and appreciate the fact that the Sri Lankan players came to our country when others refused. What happened in Lahore is simply despicable and as a Pakistani; known for our hospitality, I can now only hang my head in shame. Please accept my sincerest apologies and thank you for your bigheartedness and not hating us all!
My dearest friends in Lanka,
I'm so very much sorry for the attack on the Sri Lankan Cricket Team. I express my deepest sympathy with the families of those players who were attacked and who underwent tremendous amount of stress during the course of these three days. May they now forget their past troubles and spent the future with greater love, warmth and happiness with each other and thank the Good Lord for everything He has given.
My best wishes to Mrs Maryanne Hills and Mr Hills (Ex Country Manager of Air Lanka in Pakistan) and to their daughter Michelle and her extended families. My warm wishes and love also go out to all the Sri Lankan Teachers who so devotedly have been teaching at various schools in Pakistan especially in the Missionary Schools in Karachi. God bless you all and my sincerest apologies to each one of you for all the tremendous hurt and pain that my fellow citizens have caused you during these past three days in Lahore. May the Good Lord forgive them and help them reconcile themselves and better understand the people and situations around themselves so as to deal more patiently and peacefully with others.
Words fail me as I try to muster words of apology to all my Sri Lankan friends. I heard about the incident on the radio while driving to work that day. My first reaction was, "Good God not the Sri Lankans!!". I think in the hours that followed, most of us Pakistanis were hoping and praying that none of the Sri Lankan players were seriously injured. Thankfully they were not, but I know the trauma will remain with them for years to come. This act of terrorism, like most of those that our country has had the misfortune of falling victim to in the past few years, is absolutely unforgiveable!! The Sri Lankans however, have been as gracious as ever and probably nothing expresses that better than how they have responded to these attacks.
To all my Sri Lankan friends, "WE ARE SORRY! These handful of people do not represent who we are. We are better human beings who cherish life and peace. Hopefully in the future, with better training, equipment and probably a lot more common sense, we will be able to avert such appalling situations where blood flows like water and nothing is gained but enmity. I hope the sacrifice of those courageous few who laid down their lives does not go in vain."
Dear Sri Lankans!
All I can say is that I being a Pakistani would like to apologize to the Sri Lankan nation for what happened to their cricket team on the morning of 3/3. I know words cannot turn back what happened that day but still would like to say....... Sorry!
Hope you all can forgive our nation for something which happened in our home land. I hope and pray that such a thing never happens again and the Sri Lankans can forgive us Pakistanis.
Regards,Mansur Ali Shah
I’m deeply grieved on the terror attack on Sri Lankan team in which team players were injured along with 6 security Guards.
I along with my colleagues strongly condemned this heinous act and console the bereaved members of the team and request the high officials to punish the culprits as soon as possible.
May God bless us all.
Dear Sri Lankans,
I am Erum from Pakistan. I feel sad for the horrible event that occurred with your cricket team. It seems as someone has attacked our own players. We are fans of cricket and respect your team.
Hope someday your cricket team returns back to our country.
We appreciate the kind heartedness of Sri Lankans and the way they support us in fighting against the forces working against Pakistan. Really I can only say that a friend in need is a friend indeed.
Naveed Rabbani,Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
I don’t know what to write. OF COURSE I am horrified and disgusted at what happened in Lahore today. And that too to you guys, the Sri Lankan team- the nicest bunch of people. Who are so amazing to those who come to their country despite having their own set of issues. They are the most hospitable, warm people I have ever met. I am so ashamed that these people who did this could belong to my country. And I feel so angry that I am profiled along with them. That millions of sports fans have to pay the price of what these misguided, law-less selfish people think they were doing in the name of…well what exactly was this in the name of?
I don’t want another day spent feeling like we as country have done today and yes, the people here are good and honest and want nothing better than to live an ordinary wonderful life; one that is free of militants, and conspiracy theories and terrorism.
My personal heartfelt apologies to the Sri Lankan team and to their country. All I can say is that I hope - having had similar issues in your country you know that this isn’t what defines the entire country. We are in the midst of an actual issue right now. The people who did this are not part of our country- or any country- their motives are selfish and largely for no clear reason and they will pay for it in the final balance of things. Right now is again a time for prayer and hope, realization and action that Pakistan cannot be made to mean this in the eyes of the world over and over again by the disgusting people behind this.
As for the cricket part of it, like the whole class suffers for the uncalled for behaviour of the jerk in class, we must too. And maybe in that time out, while serving our detention, we shall find the strength to apologize, to repent, to garner enough in us to pull out the stops and finally take a stand that shows the world that the real Pakistan- and Pakistani- is nothing like this.
Prayers with you.
Dear brothers and sisters.
What happened in Lahore on 3 /3 was horrible and i am ashamed and extremely sorry. We as Pakistanis have put our brothers in danger. But through some miracle the team was saved.
Please forgive us.
Thank you Sri Lanka.
From the depth of my heart I am sorry for what happened, my apologies cannot reverse or even mend the damage both physical and spiritual caused to our Sri Lankan friends but it is just a way of saying we value you more than anyone at the moment. I just wished it had not happened. Hope you have the heart to accept our apologies and forgive us.
dear people of sri lanka,
i have had the pleasure of seeing your beautiful country and meeting all u beautiful people and not only am i awestruck at how gorgeous sri lanka is i am so impressed and amazed at how wonderful and educated and polite and gentle you are as a nation. every country has their good and bad people and we are sorry to say these strangers who are neither pakistani nor muslims do not represent us. we apologize for this horrible incident and hope you all can find it in your hearts to forgive us as a people for this misdeed. we all love cricket and we also want to thank your country and ur team for not pointing fingers and not declaring us outcasts for this.
thank you again and sorry again
Not that the 170 million participated in what took place on 3/3 BUT because it happened on our soil makes us feel responsible. Responsible because we were unable to protect the guests; our gracious guests belonging to a remarkable nation!
I have spent over a year in Sri Lanka. During that period I developed great affection and respect for the Sri Lankan people. I have met many gracious, humble and loving Sri Lankans whom I am proud to call my friends. The terrible act of 3rd march has lowered my head in shame and words cannot express how miserable it makes me feel.
Cricket is a game widely popular in the region making its players no less than royalty. And when someone treats your royalty in such a horrid manner then it is but natural for you to develop ill feeling towards the culprit. It's the bigheartedness of the Sri Lankan team and the Sri Lankan nation that even during these testing times they have shown kindness, compassion and clemency.
By your actions you have taught us all valuable lessons of humility, forgiveness, generosity and peace.
I feel very bad when i heard this news. And now that it has happened all we can just say is that we are sorry. My warm sympathy with Sri Lankan team.
To the Sri Lankans
I and my husband went for our honeymoon to Sri Lanka in Jan 2005. We have amazing memories of our visit, especially the people who made our 'special' trip even more special. We know of many other people who have had contacts with Sri Lankans on some forum or the other and I just want you to know that the people of Pakistan think of Sri Lankans with as much affection and sympathy as our own. The terrorism which targeted the cricket team is what threatens our lives here as well. However, we find it even more regrettable that any guests of our country had to face such agony here.
We can only ask for your understanding and prayers that we find peace in the near future.
I've known several Sri Lankan friends since 1975 when they came as teachers at St. Patrick's and St. Paul's schools in Karachi - and have always held them in high esteem. They were always so proud of their country for whatever they did...from their delicious coconut curries to their cricketers. All I can say, especially to the friends I knew - many of them back home now - a sincere apology on behalf of my country. I salute every member of the Sri Lankan cricket team for your bravery in this adversity, we are sorry we could not protect you in our own backyard. May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You in His Care...always!
Menin RodriguesKarachi, Pakistan
I really appreciate your initiative in voicing your sadness in the unfortunate incident regarding the Sri Lankan cricket team's visit to Pakistan.
As a Pakistani, I fully understand your sentiments. And I join you in apologizing to the cricket team for the unfortunate welcome they received in Pakistan.
FUTURE OF CRICKET IN PAKISTAN
To all players of Sri Lankan Team,
I, as an individual from the city of Karachi, Pakistan convey my heartfelt gratitude to you all players on extending such a warm courtesy by expressing a positive gesture towards the incident.
Frankly speaking, all genuine and sincere Pakistanis are ashamed of the incident and feel sorry for our own country since these incidents are rampant and we are also sailing the same boat. These incidents have become part and parcel of our lives, everyday there is a new incident.
It is our duty to be together and face this with courage.
My heart goes out to all the Sri Lankan players and their families on the events that happened in Lahore. I just want to say that the people involved in this have nothing to do with the ordinary Pakistani people and all Pakistanis condemn this strongly.
First of all, I would like to express my sorrow on this unfortunate incident which happened on our soil. I feel wretched and actually do not have words to express my frustration and helplessness that this incident happened and we can not do anything but condemn the act and apologize to the affectees.
I would like to express my grief, anger and embarrassment at what happened in our country with innocent foreigners who were here purely to promote sports. The memories will be terrible for the Sri Lankan team and I am sure that there is nothing that I can or anyone else can say or do to make them get over the trauma. However, there is just one thing that I would like to say, that neither we, the people of Pakistan support these activities nor do we want to harm anyone. This incident should please not be taken as a representation of the actions of a Pakistani citizens.
I don't know what else to say except to offer my apologies to the Sri Lankan team in particular and the Sri Lankan Nation in general at what happened with its prayers and that this may never happen ever again to anyone. May Allah protect us all. Amen.
Nasir Ali Khan
Letter of Apology to the Sri Lankans
Honestly, I wanted to cry upon hearing the news of this horrific incident with our guests; the Sri Lankan team in Lahore. Why could we not protect our guests during their visit? Why did we have to be defamed in such manner in front of our guests, a prestigious cricket team of the world and in front of all cricketing nations?
As a Pakistani I am ashamed; we could not fulfill our commitments and protect our guests, the ONLY country that gave us the honor of sending their priceless cricket team to play in our homeland despite of all the security concerns raised by the International community.
I’ve always admired the Sri Lankan cricket team and undoubtedly their willingness to play in Pakistan made us all so proud and happy but sadly, led to the spectacle of this unfortunate event. Cannot thank the Lord enough for having saved their lives. Needless to say, whomsoever may have conducted this heinous act, we truly hold ourselves responsible. My sincerest apologies on behalf of all Pakistanis to all Sri Lankans, for this traumatic life threatening experience in the life of their cricketers.
We pray that all team players can recover soon from this horrific experience and move on to show these criminals that their passion, their game is way above these hateful acts of terrorism.
With deepest regret and apologies
Your Pakistani sister
Dear Sri Lankan friends,
We want to sincerely apologise for the unfortunate incident that took place on 3rd March in Lahore. We as a nation feel extremely sad and sorry that our Sri Lankan guests and friends had to face such a traumatic experience. Kindly accept our deepest apologies.
What can we say but apologise on behalf of the whole country for the terrible scenario which took place in Lahore!
Many thanks to the entire Sri Lankan team for having come despite the uncertain situation in our country and despite all the trauma they went through they still have maintained a most respectable calm.
We too have visited Sri Lanka on two occasions and hope to go back again as soon as possible. We just loved the place and especially the people.
We can only pray that peace returns to this part of the world and once again say how very sorry we are for the unfortunate incident that took place in Lahore.
Resham – Henri Souffay
We are very sorry what happend in Lahore. As i am very big fan of Cricket and always wanted to see live cricket in ground. Since the situation was very bad when India refuse then England. Everyone push back but its Srilanka who took the courage and came to Pakistan. We all were very happy to see that but…
We are very sorry what happened; they are a few who want to spoil our country image in front of the world.
We pray to Lord pls help us and change their minds and goals that they also try live in peace.
We pray for all the Sri Lankan team and specially those who were injured may they get well soon.
From Pakistan Karachi.
only my gratitude and more, for you came. and all my prayers for an early recovery now that all are safe and home. thank you. thank you. thank you!