Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said that there was a ‘conspiracy’ behind New Zealand’s cricket board decision to cancel the team’s tour to Pakistan. The team was visiting Pakistan for the first time in 18 years, but the tour was cancelled hours before the first match of the series was scheduled to take place in Rawalpindi.
The interior minister said that the cancellation was an attempt to damage Pakistan’s efforts for regional peace. He however stopped short of naming the country responsible for the ‘conspiracy’.
Sheikh Rashid expressed these views while addressing a press conference in Islamabad. Further, he said that Pakistan authorities were informed by the New Zealand cricket team’s security incharge of a threat. But the security incharge did not have any further details, according to the interior minister.
Earlier today, the Pakistan Cricket Board issued a statement, saying that the New Zealand Cricket told the board that they have been told that there was a ‘security alert’, after which they decided to cancel the series.
According to reports, the NZ cricket board said that Pakistan had been ‘wonderful hosts’, but safety of the players was important. The NZ board however stopped short of detailing the security alert which forced it to leave the country. The updated arrangements for the departing squad were not shared either.