Islamabad: The New Zealand authorities do not have substantive proof of a threat in Pakistan, Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed said Friday, hours after the Kiwis cancelled their tour of Pakistan.
Rasheed, addressing a press conference, said New Zealand took a unilateral decision to cancel the Pakistan tour despite the country’s tight security arrangements for the team.
The federal minister’s press conference comes following New Zealand Cricket’s decision to cancel its tour of Pakistan citing a “security alert”, a statement from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had said.
“Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series,” the PCB had said.
The New Zealand authorities did not have any evidence to support their claim as the Pakistan army, security forces, and 4,000 police personnel were deployed for the Kiwis’ security, the interior minister said.
Rasheed said Pakistan had proposed holding the matches without spectators, but the New Zealand authorities did not agree to that. 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.
Responding to PM Imran Khan, New Zealand prime minister said there were reports that the team might be attacked once it steps out of the hotel, the interior minister said.
“They took a unilateral decision to cancel their tour,” he said, adding that no security institution of Pakistan had received reports of threats to the New Zealand cricket team.