Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed in a press conference said, “The New Zealand (NZ)authorities do not have substantive proof of threat in Pakistan.”
“New Zealand took a unilateral decision to cancel the Pakistan tour despite the country’s tight security arrangements for the team,” said Rasheed.
The interior minister said NZ team’s security in-charge spoke to government officials in the morning and informed them of a threat. When the officials asked for further details, the NZ security in-charge “did not have any”, he added.
Pakistan had deployed commandos from Pakistan Army’s Special Services Group (SSG), soldiers, and 4,000 policemen for the matches in Rawalpindi, Sheikh Rasheed said.
“We also tried to convince them to play the match without spectators. But they did not agree to it,” he disclosed.
“None of our intelligence agencies, which are among the best in the world, have any information about a threat. Pakistan is playing a major role in the region and they do not want us to prosper.”
Indian media was “defaming Pakistan”, said the interior minister, adding that its designs would be foiled.
“We have sacrificed before and peace will prevail here at all costs,” he stressed.
Following this, the Pakistani officials spoke to Prime Minister Imran Khan — who is currently in Tajikistan.
“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,” the interior minister said.
However, Ardern said the NZ government had “received intelligence that the team could be attacked when it steps out to go to the stadium”, Sheikh Rasheed added.
“It is their decision. We had deployed heavy security for the team. Pakistan is a peace promoter in the world. And this tour was cancelled through a conspiracy. It is their (NZ’s) problem and what they decide.”
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