Slain Pakistani driver pays for love of cricket

LAHORE, (Reuters) – Driver Zafar Khan was with the New Zealand cricket team in 2002 when a suicide bomber struck  outside their hotel in Karachi.

Yesterday Khan, 40, was buried after being shot dead by  gunmen who attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

A driver of 15 years and cricket crazy like many of his  countrymen, Khan had expected to go home to his village outside  Mansehra town in North West Frontier province to finalise the  dates for his eldest daughter’s wedding once the Lahore match  was over.

Instead his body was taken there, after prayers were given  for him and the six Pakistani policemen who also died in the  bloody assault by a dozen as yet unidentified gunmen.

Khan was killed instantly by a gunshot wound to his chest  as his coach came under heavy fire from terrorists 500 metres  from the Gaddafi stadium, where he was taking the umpires for  the third day of a match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

“He loved his cricket and he was liked by visiting foreign  players and officials,” Saleem Khan, his younger brother, told  Reuters after burying his sibling at the ancestral village in  North West Frontier Province.

“He loved collecting souvenirs given to him by them.”

His uncle, Anwar Khan, recalled his nephew’s shock when a  suicide bomb attack outside Karachi’s Sheraton Hotel in May 2002  killed 11 French engineers and two Pakistanis.

Khan had been preparing to take the New Zealand team from  the hotel to the National Stadium, but the New Zealanders  promptly abandoned the series and returned home the same day. “He was shattered then, but recovered quickly as he loved  driving and cricket,” Anwar said.

While Khan was being buried, one of his passengers lay in a  Lahore hospital on the critical list.

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