The Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has claimed that people with ‘Hindi names’ [Hindus] from India are behind threatening emails that caused New Zealand to abandon its cricket tour of the country.
In a media conference, Pakistan accused an Indian named ‘Om Prakash Mishra’ from Mumbai, Maharashtra, of threatening the New Zealand team by creating fake email addresses and sending such emails using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Pakistan information minister Fawad Chaudhry told reporters:
“The email was sent from an associated device in India using VPN, showing IP address location of Singapore.”
He alleged that the same device had 13 other IDs, all of which were Indian names.
“The device used to send the threat to the New Zealand team belonged to India. A fake ID was used but it was sent from Maharashtra.”
Chaudhry claimed that New Zealand received threatening emails before it arrived in Pakistan.
He claimed that a fake Facebook post was created in August under Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan militant Ehsanullah Ehsan’s name which warned the New Zealand Cricket Board and government to refrain from sending their team to Pakistan as it would be “targeted” by IS (Deash).
Chaudhry said that a day later, another threatening email was sent to the New Zealand team using the ID, Hamza Afridi.
He added that an email was also sent to the wife of New Zealand player Martin Guptill detailing a death threat.
New Zealand dropped its plans to play with Pakistan abruptly a few hours before the match citing a specific security threat to its players.
“Following an escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisors on the ground, it has been decided the Blackcaps will not continue with the tour.”
New Zealand Cricket said they were aware of a “specific and credible” jihad terrorist threat but did not give details to the media.
This withdrawal lead to a chain reaction whereby England subsequently called off its tours as well by citing “mental and physical well-being”.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement:
“The Pakistan Prime Minister spoke personally to the Prime Minister of New Zealand and informed her that we have one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team.”
While former Pakistani cricketer and PCB Chair Ramiz Raja had then tweeted in frustration:
“Walking out of the tour by taking a unilateral approach on a security threat is very frustrating. Especially when it’s not shared!! Which world is NZ living in?? NZ will hear us at ICC.”
Pakistan now claims that its detailed investigations have revealed that the device from which emails were sent is registered in India and they will seek help from the INTERPOL to probe this matter.
“This is unfortunate. We believe this is a campaign against international cricket. The International Cricket Council (ICC) and other bodies must take notice.”
In July, when similar allegations were made against India, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has told the media:
“It is not new for Pakistan to engage in baseless propaganda against India. Pakistan would do well to expend the same effort in setting its own house in order and taking credible and verifiable action against terrorism emanating from its soil and terrorists who have found safe sanctuaries there.”
Bagchi had added:
“The international community is well aware of Pakistan’s credentials when it comes to terrorism. This is acknowledged by none other than its own leadership, which continues to glorify terrorists like Osama Bin Laden as ‘martyrs’.”
Such withdrawals have further damaged Pakistan’s already deteriorating reputation and dealt a massive blow to its hopes of staging regular international cricket tournaments.
For almost a decade, after terrorists attacked and injured Sri Lankan players in 2009, top cricket teams have shunned Pakistan and considered the country that is a terror hub as a no-go zone.
Pakistan’s support to the Taliban and other listed terrorist organisations and the recently cancelled tours have given rise to the fears amongst its citizens that they will once again be deprived of quality international cricket.