Last week New Zealand abandoned their Pakistan tour minutes before the start of the opening game following a New Zealand government security alert.
Federal Minister for information, Fawad Chaudhary and Minister for Interior, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed addressed a press conference on Wednesday said Pakistan was facing a hybrid and fifth-generation war.
19th August, a fake post was shared on social media on former TTP commander Ehsanullah Ehsan’s name that warned the New Zealand Cricket team against touring Pakistan. Couple of days later, 21st August, an article was published in The Sunday Guardian by Indian journalist, Abhinandan Mishra who wrote the same based on Ehsanullah Ehsan’s fake post, the New Zealand cricket team could get attacked in Pakistan and Mishra was found in contact with Amrullah Saleh, ex Afghan vice president prior to his 21st August article. Mishara on 18th of September (post the tour cancellation) wrote a article titled “Threat of Kabul Airport like attack led NZ to cancel Pak tour,” but that really wasn’t the case.
A threatening email was sent to New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill’s wife from an ID using the Tehreek-e-Labbaik alias. The email said that Guptill will be killed while on tour in Pakistan. The ID was investigated and it was found that it was created on August 24, 2021 at 01:05am while the email was sent at 11:59am on August 24. The mail was sent using ProtonMail, it is a secure email service and Pakistan has asked Interpol to assist in helping identify the person behind it. Despite all these threats New Zealand did not cancel their Pakistan tour. Pakistan and New Zealand’s security agencies had conducted a probe and arrived at the conclusion that the threats issued on August 19, 21 and 24 were all fake.
New Zealand Cricket on 17th of September (match day) at 10:30 AM PST informed Pakistan Cricket Board and authorities that the team has received information of a security threat from their government. Former great and current PM, Imran Khan despite being busy in official engagement made calls to New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern requesting her not to have the team abandon the tour at the last minute, she said they [New Zealand government] had received a ‘critical threat’ that their team would be attacked. After the tour was abandoned another mail at 11:30 PM PST was sent to the New Zealand Police that from an ID generated under the name Hamza Afridi. The mail read : “Dear New Zealand Cricket, you did wrong to go to Pakistan and now see what will happen to you. Your cricket team is not going anywhere now. In every place, the bombs will be placed now, from the hotel to your flight. My men will not forgive you, they are coming to New Zealand. Pakistan Zindabad, Allah hu Akbar.” ; the email id was created 15 minutes before the mail was sent and again the device was associated in India using VPN showing IP address of Singapore.
The IP address of the email generated was changed using a VPN to show Singapore as the location. The device which was used to send the email, further investigation revealed, was operating 13 email IDs; all id’s were generated on the names of Indian actors and drama celebrities. The device used to send the threatening email to the New Zealand squad belonged to an Indian man named Om Prakash Mishra from Maharashtra.
PAKISTAN’S SECURITY FOR KIWI PLAYERS : The security team for New Zealand cricket squad was larger than New Zealand’s army. A chartered flight brought the New Zealand team to Pakistan on September 11, a detailed programme containing their protocols and security was issued by the interior ministry, which included the squad being accompanied by two helicopters. The New Zealand squad, on September 13, travelled from their hotel to the Rawalpindi cricket stadium along with the Pakistani players, where they held a full practice session and again the team travelled to the same stadium on September 14 and held another training session there, with the same security protocols in place and the same on 16th from 4:30PM-6:30PM; no threat reported.
All stated above was addressed at the press conference by Fawad Chaudhary and Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed and presented a briefing.
Pakistan Cricket is suffering a huge loss and do wish some sort of compensation from teams who’ve cancelled tours; after New Zealand pulled out ECB put out a statement that both English teams (Men’s and Women’s) will not be touring Pakistan; the British High Commission supported the tour and did not advise against it on security concerns and travel advice for Pakistan has not changed. The decision made by ECB to not send their players was independent.
ECB’s decision has left Pakistan Cricket in shock, during the ongoing pandemic with Covid cases at peak and with no vaccination back then ECB had approached PCB requesting them to tour England to help them not go bankrupt; Pakistan did tour England, spent weeks and months in hard isolation and strict bio bubbles for a smooth conduct of the tour and so did West Indies and and it’s good to see former English players and media questioning ECB’S decision despite commitments; “Citing player welfare is strange when the ECB has essentially washed its hands of its players’ travel and cricketing commitments for three months of the year so that they can play in the Indian Premier League,” Former captain Micheal Atherton wrote in his column. Teams really need to step up and tour Pakistan, it’s such a proud cricketing nation that was expecting return of international cricket. Pakistan has seen enough and each time they try to re-establish international cricket in thier nation it’s seen a shameful pause.