You will be safe: Driver of attacked Lahore bus

18 October 2017 03:04 pm - 12     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The driver of the bus which carried the Sri Lankan cricket team to Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore when it came under fire by terrorists, said the situation in Pakistan has changed and Sri Lankan players would be safe.

In an interview with the Indian Express, Meher Muhammad Khaleel has said he would be driving the team again to the stadium and requested them not worry about their safety.

“It’s so easy for people to say play here but only those who went through that experience can understand that: fear and terror that they went through is not easy to forget. I can understand that. But my request to them is that the situation is better: the army is with you, our people are with you, you will be safe,” he said.

Six members of the Lankan team were injured, six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed in the attack on March, 2009.

Recalling the day, Khaleel said that when the attackers opened fire, he thought it was celebratory fireworks. But soon he saw, in the mirror, that the Sri Lankan players had dived to either side of the aisle.

He said he then saw a man on the street shoot at the bus. “One went through the glass, one flew by, and I heard the players say, ‘Go, go, go’. It jolted me and I decided to drive ahead. To rush ahead an eight-cylinder bus on second gear wasn’t easy but I knew I had to escape the scene. They were 10-15 of them, I think, and grouped in twos.”

Later, after a few hours, he heard that the Sri Lankans, who were taken to the airbase, said they wouldn’t leave the country without thanking him. Khaleel was at the police station then, and the Pakistan Cricket Board took him to the players. “Muralitharan, Sangakkara, Mendis, Samaraweera, Mahela were there, and they gave me so much love and respect — they also stuffed whatever money they had in an envelope and gave it to me.”

Khaleel would later go as guest of honour to Sri Lanka and spend 10 days there meeting with families of all cricketers.

“When I went to a public function or even to shopping in a mall, I remember people shouting, ‘Hero! Hero! Hero!’ It felt really good. I was also invited for dinner with their president.”

Then he went to South Africa and stayed there for two more years. Before he moved to South Africa to live, he was there on a visit when he heard players like Mahela Jayawardene were there for a tournament.

“So I called the hotel but one can’t reach a player. I told the receptionist who I was, gave my number and asked it to be given to Mahela. He called me soon, and said, ‘Oh, Muhammad bhai, where are you? And when I told him I was right there, he asked me to come over. We had a great time, he gave me tickets to an IPL game also. I also saw MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina that time; Raina spoke very warmly and Dhoni said, ‘you are so brave, you saved them,”

On his return to Pakistan, Khaleel resumed driving the bus. When Zimbabwe toured the country in 2015, he drove them to the stadium. Earlier this year, he was again on duty when the World XI landed in Pakistan. Now, he waits for Sri Lanka.

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  Comments - 12

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  • ceylon Wednesday, 18 October 2017 03:31 PM

    he is a proffesional driver.he took care his passengers safety.he is a example for other drivers.other driver might escape from bus and let all to death. via DM Android App

    Ajja Wednesday, 18 October 2017 03:48 PM

    Great Man with a great Heart.Real Ambassador in Cricket...

    Wise Donkey Friday, 20 October 2017 12:49 AM

    Will the same driver take the wheel, if he is assuring safety. He of course is a hero, no doubt.

    Ordinary Wednesday, 18 October 2017 03:50 PM

    So now the SLC taking advice from buss drivers on the security situation of Pakistan or they got him to speak on behalf of them ? What a joke this is ?

    Lahiru Wednesday, 18 October 2017 04:42 PM

    Yes Ordinary. In here we should not take decision on feelings. This is about players life.

    Anthony Wednesday, 18 October 2017 05:13 PM

    Your comment is lower than Ordinary

    Chrissy Wednesday, 18 October 2017 04:12 PM

    What a wonderful anecdote of a simple man's bravery. Thank you, made my day.

    L C A Wednesday, 18 October 2017 04:53 PM

    Now the Sri Lankan first 11 cricket players do not need any security. Consider like a school team which goes overseas for a friendly match.

    Ruvin Wednesday, 18 October 2017 05:31 PM

    A bus driver is rated higher than a bookie.He has the right to advice our cricket board president therefore.

    suren Thursday, 19 October 2017 09:19 AM

    you can take this bus drivers advice more seriously than the Pakistan govt. stand

    Premalal Thursday, 19 October 2017 11:32 AM

    Can you trust the security guards?

    ceylon Thursday, 19 October 2017 09:43 AM

    this selfless hero drivers thoughts are good but pakistan has a lawless government.world famous for training and terror attacks to india.safety is not sure.beyond control. via DM Android App


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