LAHORE: Driver Meher Mohammad Khalil, who became a hero when he whisked Sri Lankan cricket team to safety under militant fire in 2009, has been invited by the Pakistan Cricket Board to attend the historic T20 match at Gaddafi Stadium today.
The 43-year old will also meet Sri Lanka Cricket officials and PCB chairman Najam Sethi during the occasion.
The PCB made the announcement on Twitter. “Mehar Khalil has been invited for the match today. He will also meet Sri Lankan officials and Chairman PCB,” the board’s media wing posted.
Eight years after the tragedy that drove away international cricket from Pakistan, Khalil welcomed Sri Lanka back for Pakistan´s first cricket match against a top international team since the attack.
In an interview earlier to Geo.tv, he recounted the tragic moments from March 3, 2009 when the bus he was driving carrying Sri Lankan team, came under attack by militants on way to Gaddafi Stadium.
“I don’t know what gave me the courage to do what I did,” he said about that fateful day. “I saved many lives today, but I may have also saved the honour of my country.”
His heroic efforts were recognised by the Sri Lankan government, which invited him as a state guest for 10 days.
At a special ceremony in Colombo, the then-Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara thanked Khalil: “His courage, selflessness and quick thinking enabled many of us to see another day. We will always have a special place for you in our hearts.”
Khalil moved to South Africa with his family after the attack, but relocated to Lahore in 2013 where he once more drives a bus in the city.