Fawad Chaudhry says threat to NZ cricket team originated in India

APP News Agency

22nd Sep, 2021. 05:00 pm
Fawad Chaudhry

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry addresses a press conference in Islamabad. Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Wednesday a threat to New Zealand’s cricket team that prompted them to call off a tour of Pakistan came in an email that originated in India.

Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad with Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, he said the cancellation of the tour was the result of a fifth-generation hybrid war against Pakistan as fake news was generated by India to scuttle the tour.

Rashid said India had been hatching conspiracies against Pakistan but like in the past, it would fail to weaken its standing at the international level.

He said India had done a huge investment in Afghanistan to use its soil for operating terrorists in Pakistan but after the fall of Kabul its investment was wasted.

The minister disclosed that a threatening email was generated from a secure service Proton mail, and added that Pakistan had requested Interpol to assist for further probe.

New Zealand’s cricket squad reached home on Wednesday after abandoning their tour of Pakistan last week citing a security threat. New Zealand Cricket said they were aware of a “specific and credible” threat but did not give details.

According to Rashid, on August 19, a Facebook post was circulated from a fabricated account made in the name of Ehsan Ullah Ehsan (ex-spokesperson Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan) on social media asking the New Zealand Cricket Board and its government not to send their team to Pakistan, as a plan had been made to target the New Zealand team but the post was not found on Facebook.

He said after two days, Bureau Chief of an Indian newspaper Sunday Guardian, Abhinandan Mishra wrote an article claiming that the New Zealand cricket team may face a terrorist attack in Pakistan. The article was based on that very fake post.

Mishra was also in contact with former Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh, he said.

Rashid said the article suggested an orchestrated campaign to scuttle the tour.

‘Martin Guptill’s wife received an email threatening her husband’

According to Chaudhry, on August 24, New Zealand opener Martin Guptill’s wife also received an email threatening her husband. The email was sent from a fake ID tehreekelabaik@protonmail.com, which threatened to kill Guptill during the tour. The email ID was not associated with any SMN, he added.

Interestingly, Chaudhry continued, the email account was generated at 01:05 am while the email was sent on the same day at 11:59 am. It was obvious that the email was generated purposefully as no other activity was found from the same email.

He said that despite all these tactics, the New Zealand tour was not canceled and its team arrived in Pakistan on September 11 and 12 in two chartered flights. The team also attended practice sessions at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on September 13 and 14 and no threat alert was reported. Both the teams again did practice on September 16.

On September 17, Chaudhry said, New Zealand team and its government expressed concern over the reported threat and cancelled the tour unilaterally without sharing the details

He said on September 18, 2021, Interpol Wellington informed Interpol Islamabad about receipt of a threat email to New Zealand Police from hamzaafridi7899@gmail.com at 06:25 am (NZ time), requesting a probe.

The minister added New Zealand police had received a threat email on September 18. Another fake ID hamzaafridi7899@gmail.com, sent an email 15 minutes after it was created.

“This email was generated from India through a VPN showing the location of Singapore.”

The minister also cited an article by Abhinandan Mishra on Sept 18 titled “Threat of Kabul Airport-like attack led NZ to cancel Pak tour”.

Fawad said that involvement of Indian media and intelligence agencies in a systematic campaign to malign Pakistan based on orchestrated social media campaign indicate mala fide intent.

 

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