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Grateful Lanka invites Lahore hero

Mehar Mohammad Khalil, the Pakistani bus driver whose timely action saved the lives of the Sri Lankan cricket players during the terrorist attack in Lahore, has been invited to the island nation for a holiday by a leading media group.

world Updated: Mar 07, 2009 00:26 IST

Mehar Mohammad Khalil, the Pakistani bus driver whose timely action saved the lives of the Sri Lankan cricket players during the terrorist attack in Lahore, has been invited to the island nation for a holiday by a leading media group.

Khalil and his wife has been invited by the state-run Associated Newspapers of Ceylon for week-long holiday in Sri Lanka. The invitation "comes with the blessings" of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said a statement issued by the Sri Lankan High Commission today.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has already announced a reward of Rs five lakh for Khalil, who has emerged a hero in Pakistan for keeping a cool head and driving the Sri Lankan players to the safety of Gaddafi Stadium when the team's bus was attacked by a dozen heavily armed terrorists.

Sri Lankan cricketers have thanked Khalil for keeping his foot on the gas pedal as bullets ripped into the bus and driving them to safety.

Muttiah Muralitharan gifted Khalil his shirt and cap.

Khalil, a driver for the past 22 years, has driven many visiting foreign teams.

Seven Sri Lankan players and an assisting coach were injured and eight persons were killed in the attack.