Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has claimed that there is a “conspiracy” behind the cancellation of New Zealand’s cricket tour to Pakistan.
Islamabad [Pakistan], September 18 : New Zealand, who were set to play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003, on Friday informed that they are abandoning their tour following a government security alert. The side was to play Pakistan on Friday in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20 series.
“However, 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,” NZC said in a statement.
During a presser in Islamabad on Friday, Rashid Ahmed refused to name the country responsible for the conspiracy, Dawn newspaper reported. However, he termed the cancellation “an attempt to damage our efforts for peace in the region”.
The minister said the New Zealand team’s security incharge spoke to government officials and informed them of a threat. When the Pakistani officials asked for details, the NZ security in charge “did not have any”, Ahmed added.
Reacting to the cancellation, newly-elected Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja lashed out at New Zealand Cricket (NZC) for taking a ‘unilateral approach’ on security threat.
“Crazy day it has been! Feel so sorry for the fans and our players. Walking out of the tour by taking a unilateral approach on a security threat is very frustrating. Especially when it’s not shared!! Which world is NZ living in??NZ will hear us at ICC,” Raja tweeted.
Former Pakistan Cricketers Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi also came down heavily on New Zealand for abandoning their tour of Pakistan. Shoaib said the team just killed Pakistan cricket.