I am trying to figure out the motive for this terrible attack. Imran Khan last year criticised Australian cricketers for not playing in Pakistan since 1998. He argued that cricketers would never be attacked because cricketers were so uniformly popular throughout Pakistan. A reasonable sounding hypothesis that turns out to be tragically wrong.
Speaking to Pakistani students this morning I was reminded of the fact that there is a war being waged inside Pakistan by terrorists and that thousands of innocents are being killed each year. Many of these killings are carried out to instill terror among civilian populations but they do not get much publicity. It might be that the present attack is an attempt to instill widespread terror through an attack the terrorists know will be widely publicised. In short, an attempt to effectively terrify local Pakistanis by attempting to kill foreign cricketers.
It is the only rationale I can come up with for this senseless attack which otherwise seems not only to be an utterly immoral action but something that will harm the objectives of the terrorists themselves.
Update: Pakistan's Daily Times assumes that Al Qaeda was the aggressor and makes sensible points:
International cricket is no longer possible in Pakistan; therefore we should stop accusing foreign teams of discriminating against Pakistan vis-à-vis India. The question here is of the survival of Pakistan, not of cricket. The country is split down the middle, its two mainstream parties getting ready to face each other in the streets amid rising violence. The politicians and other civil society organisations protesting against the government have so far enjoyed the “exemption” from terrorism allowed by Al Qaeda. Unfortunately, it seems they are not going to give up confrontation to unite against Al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda is hardly interested in the restoration of the deposed judges or the correct observance of democratic rules in Pakistan. It wants Pakistan as its own state, armed with nuclear weapons and an economy that can sustain global terrorism. It would be a pity if Pakistan responds, like an ex-ISI boss who has already done so, by accusing India’s RAW or Israel’s Mossad for this attack, as some commentators did in reference to the Marriott blast when an Indo-Pak media war was sparked by the Mumbai attacks. (my bold)