Kiwis scrap Pakistan’s tour over security concerns | Rasheed sees conspiracy behind series cancellation

Kiwis scrap Pakistan’s tour over security concerns | Rasheed sees conspiracy behind series cancellation

Jacinda supports NZC decision despite PM Khan’s assurance about foolproof security


Staff Report

RAWALPINDI: Much to the disappointment of the cricket-lovers in Pakistan, the New Zealand team has called off its one-day and T20I series minutes before the start of the first one-day international at Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on Friday.
The New Zealand cricket board citing security reasons and taking a decision on their own cancelled the series, to be played after an 18-year gap.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed, in a statement, said that the New Zealand cricket team’s withdrawal from their tour of Pakistan was part of a well-thought conspiracy.
The minister further said the visitors’ security in charge told Pakistan’s officials that they have received a security threat. “When we talked to them, they did not have any convincing point,” he added.
Rasheed said Pakistan gave the New Zealand officials an option to go ahead with the match without spectators. When they did not agree with this, the Interior Minister said, Prime Minister Imran Khan was contacted in Tajikistan.
“He called the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and told her that the security arrangements in our country were perfect and there was no need to worry about anything,” said Rasheed.
“Jacinda told him that the New Zealand team had threats of being attacked if they go out.” None of Pakistan’s agencies received such threats, said the minister.
In a statement issued on its website, Pakistan Cricket Board said the series was cancelled due to security reasons. “New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series,” the PCB statement added.
“Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all the visiting teams. We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same. The Pakistan Prime Minister spoke personally to the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and informed her that we have one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team,” the PCB statement further said.
After a period of uncertainty, as details regarding the cause of the delay were awaited, a New Zealand cricket statement was issued, saying, “Following an escalation in the New Zealand government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisors on the ground, it has been decided the Blackcaps will not continue with the tour”.
The New Zealand contingent in Pakistan is now preparing to leave the country.