Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed made conspiracy claims after New Zealand abandoned their tour of Pakistan in the eleventh hour. The Black Caps’ government raised security concerns just a few minutes prior to the start of the first ODI at the Pindi cricket stadium in Rawalpindi.
The tour was the Kiwi’s first visit to Pakistan in around 18 years. The players were all prepared to take the field when the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) security advisors issued a possible security threat. This forced the entire tour to be called off which wasn’t well-received by Rasheed.
“This conspiracy has been hatched to tarnish the image of Pakistan, as its image was going to build up due to the role it is playing for peace in the region.”
“This is their [NZ’s] problem. The National Crises Management Cell and other institutions had tried to convince them [that there is no threat], but New Zealand’s government has taken a one-sided decision,” Rasheed added.
“The New Zealand PM was assured there was no security threat” – Sheikh Rasheed
Following the security threat, Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan engaged in a conversation with NZ’s PM Jacinda Ardern. She was informed that the security threat doesn’t exist. Pakistan had deployed around 4000 policemen and a few commandos of the Pakistan Army’s Special Services Group (SSG).
“The prime minister was briefed on the matter. He then called New Zealand Prime Minister and assured her that there was no security threat. [However] they took a unilateral decision to cancel their tour. None of our intelligence agencies had any information about a threat,” the federal minister added.
Rasheed went on to mention the role of Pakistan in fighting against terrorism. He brought up the Afghanistan situation with the Taliban and pointed out that the country has been evacuation plenty of US, Turkish, Greek, Japanese, and German nationals.