'International conspiracy': Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed after New Zealand call off tour

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Friday, September 17, 2021, 09:32 PM IST
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Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed briefs to media during a press conference in Islamabad on September 17, 2021, after New Zealand postponed a series of one-day international (ODI) cricket matches against Pakistan over security concerns. | (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP)

Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Friday said that the New Zealand tour was cancelled under an "international conspiracy", reported Express Tribune.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the Interior Minister said that he will not name the conspirators, however, he added that some forces want to make Pakistan a scapegoat after what has been happening in Afghanistan.

"We even requested them to continue the tour without spectators but they refused," he added.

This comes after Blackcaps decided to call off the tour following a New Zealand government security alert, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) informed. New Zealand was slated to play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003. The side was to play hosts on Friday in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20 series.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern before the Kiwis announced they are abandoning their tour of Pakistan. Imran Khan assured Ardern that Pakistan has one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team but New Zealand Cricket (NZC) still decided to return home.

Meanwhile, many on social media claimed that the British High Commission "shared the threat" with New Zealand. However, British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner on Friday refuted claims of their involvement in the cancellation of New Zealand's tour of Pakistan.

Taking to Twitter, Turner wrote, "Speculation that British High Commission was involved in PakvsNZ tour being called off are untrue; this was a decision for the New Zealand authorities & taken independently. I recognise that this is a sad day for cricket fans in Pakistan & around the world who were looking fwd to the series," he tweeted.

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