Sri Lankan Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge on Saturday defended the cricket team’s tour of Pakistan, saying that the Lankans agreed to fill in for India, which had backed out not because of security fears but the “dispute” over Mumbai terror attacks.
“When it was taken up by our foreign ministry, we had realised that the Indian team scrapped Pakistan tour not because of lack of security but because of Mumbai attacks,” he said.
“A dispute arose between the two countries due to the Mumbai attacks. Therefore the Indian government did not approve the Indian cricket board’s request.
“Hence we should try not to obtain political gain through these incidents,” Lokuge said addressing a gathering at the indoor stadium in the gem-mining centre of Ratnapura in South-western Sri Lanka.
Six Lankan cricketers were injured in a terror attack in Lahore during the second Test on March 3.
Lokuge dismissed suggestions that his government ignored the security threat in the violence-hit nation.
“We cannot work to obtain political gain. On behalf of the government and as a minister I will take the responsibility for the Pakistan tour,” Lokuge said.