Arms deal made Pakistan envoy to Sri Lanka a target

Aug 15(AFP) – A bid to assassinate Pakistan’s envoy to Sri Lanka was triggered by plans for Islamabad to ship new arms to the island to battle Tamil rebels, a government spokesman said Tuesday.

A similar push was launched by the Tigers Friday, according to the defence ministry, which said the military managed to resist thanks to heavy weapons given by Pakistan.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner (ambassador) Bashir Wali Mohmand narrowly escaped a Claymore mine attack in Colombo Monday, but four of his Sri Lankan army commando bodyguards and three civilians were killed.

“Tigers have targeted him because of the increased defence cooperation between the two countries,” government defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters here.

He said there had been newspaper reports that Pakistan was arranging military supplies that could strengthen the Sri Lankan government’s fighting capabilities.

“I can’t say whether the arms list published by the newspapers was true or not, but it was obviously enough to make the Tigers desperate,” Rambukwella said.

Sri Lanka turned to Pakistan to buy weapons after India turned down a request recently, official sources said, adding that the shopp