Earlier this week, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced that it was pulling both its men’s and women’s teams from their upcoming tour to Pakistan, which was set to take place later this month. Following the cancellation of New Zealand’s tour of Pakistan on Friday, citing a “security danger,” the England and Wales Cricket Board made its decision three days later. The first One Day International match was set to begin at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Friday.

Chaudhry, speaking at a press conference following the cabinet meeting, described the situation as “unfortunate” in its entirety.

“If nations want to be able to raise their heads high, there is a cost associated with it, and nations bear that cost. Pakistan, I believe, is prepared to face any challenge that comes its way.

“If you say, ‘absolutely not,’ there is a cost associated with it, and you must bear it,” the information minister explained.

He was referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s comments in June, in which he categorically stated that Pakistan would “absolutely not” allow the United States to establish bases or use its territory for any type of action in Afghanistan, a response that surprised the interviewer with its clarity.

The information minister stated on Twitter that the cancellations by the two cricket governing bodies, New Zealand Cricket and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), had resulted in a significant financial loss for Pakistan Television.

This confusion should be cleared up as soon as possible, Chaudhry added.

Ramiz Raja, Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), expressed his dissatisfaction with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in a scorching response to the cancellation of the tour by the latter on Monday by saying that it was to be expected, as the western bloc comes together in an attempt to support one another, but it was unfortunate. England’s departure from the tournament is unjustified, and Pakistan cricket will triumph,” he had stated in a video message.

According to Wasim Khan, the Pakistan Cricket Board’s chief executive, the New Zealand tour has been postponed following a warning from the “Five Eyes” intelligence organization that a “direct and urgent threat” to the team’s presence in Pakistan has been received by the New Zealand government.

A group of countries known as the Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance made up of representatives from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

On September 22, The Information Minister, accompanied by Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed, spoke about the tight security precautions for the visiting Kiwi team.

Fawad Chaudhry commented about a bogus social media post made under former TTP commander Ehsanullah Ehsan’s name in August, warning the New Zealand cricket team against touring Pakistan which said, the New Zealand cricket team shouldn’t visit Pakistan because Daesh would attack it, said the minister.

The Sunday Guardian’s bureau chief Abhinandan Mishra wrote the same thing two days later, on August 21, in an article about the New Zealand cricket team being attacked in Pakistan.

On August 24, five days later, a threatening email was sent to Martin Guptill’s wife from an ID using the Tehreek-e-Labbaik identity. Unknown to him, Fawad Chaudhry had received a death threat.

“The email indicated Guptill will be killed in Pakistan,” he said. “We discovered the ID was formed at 01:05 am on August 24, 2021, and sent at 11:59 am on August 25, 2021,” he revealed.

He stated the email was sent using Proton Mail, a secure email service known to individuals who use it. He claimed Pakistan has contacted Interpol to help it investigate the email and the sender.

He added that despite all these threats New Zealand team came to Pakistan and played their training sessions. After receiving information from their government about a security danger, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) notified the PCB and Pakistani authorities about it at 10:30 am on September 17.

After the tour was canceled on September 17, an email from an ID generated under the name Hamza Afridi was sent to the New Zealand squad at 11:25 pm PST on September 17.

“This email came from an Indian device,” he claimed. “The email generated was modified to show Singapore as the location using a VPN,” the Information Minister disclosed.

“The device used to send the email was operating 13 email IDs,” Chaudhry added. In addition, he said all IDs were based on Indian actors’ names.

The device used to send the threatening email to the New Zealand team belonged to an Om Prakash Mishra from Maharashtra, Chaudhry added.

A strong link to India, he remarked. “A fake hamzaafridi7899@gmail.com ID threatened the New Zealand team. Maharashtra sent this threat “he said.

These all statements are leading us to think, has politics came over sports also?

By Sawera Amjad

Author is a Lahore College for Women University graduate. She writes with zeal and believes that there is nothing greater than words to express herself.

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