Sheikh Rasheed: ‘New Zealand does not have substantive proof of threat’
Federal Minister for Interior, Sheikh Rasheed said that New Zealand authorities do not have any substantive proof of a threat in Pakistan, hours after they called off their series.
In a press conference, Rasheed said that New Zealand took a unilateral decision to postpone Pakistan’s tour despite Pakistan provided presidential security arrangements for the team.
According to a statement from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said that New Zealand Cricket (NZC) decides to cancel its tour of Pakistan citing a “security alert”.
PCB said, “Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series,”
Sheikh Rashid said that New Zealand authorities did not have any evidence to support their claim as the Pakistan army, security forces, and 4,000 police personnel were arranged for New Zealand’s security.
He said that Pakistan had also offered to hold the matches without spectators, but the Black Cap’s authorities did not agree to that.
After this, the Pakistan officials spoke to Prime Minister Imran Khan who is currently in Tajikistan.
Rashid said, “The prime minister was briefed on the matter. He then called New Zealand Prime Minister [Jacinda Ardern] and assured her that there was no security threat,”
He further told that in a response to Imran Khan, New Zealand’s PM said that there were reports that the team might be attacked once it steps out of the hotel.
He added that the security institution of Pakistan had not received reports of threats to the New Zealand cricket team. “They took a unilateral decision to cancel their tour,”
Rashid said that the unilateral decision came as Pakistan is playing a crucial role in establishing peace in the world. “The country has strong institutions which have fought terrorism.”
He said, “The tour has been cancelled on the basis of a conspiracy. This is their [New Zealand] problem. The National Crises Management Cell and other institutions had tried to convince them, but New Zealand’s government has taken a unilateral decision,”
In response to a question, he said that it was not suitable to name the conspirators, as Pakistan has die-hard cricket fans who wish to see cricket on their home ground.
He said, “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,”
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