NZ decision to cancel cricket team visit holds no ground: Sh Rashid

The Nation  |  Sep 19, 2021

ISLAMABAD - A day after New Zealand cricket team postponed its tour to Pakistan, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Saturday said that the decision of Black Caps to abandon the one-day series on security grounds was “unfounded.”

He said that decision has no grounds at a time when the US-led NATO troops, diplomats and staff of international organisations like World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) stationed in Afghanistan had preferred Pakistan for their safe evacuations from the war-torn country.

Since August 15 takeover of Kabul by Taliban, as many 13,000 foreigners including Afghan nationals have entered Pakistan for their safe evacuation to other destinations, according to government figures.

“Islamabad hosted them in hotels. Let us not make sports scapegoat for anti-Pakistan international agendas,” the interior minister said in a statement.

Chris Gayle's tweet goes viral on social media On Friday, the New Zealand cricket team cancelled its tour to Pakistan citing security threat minutes before it was scheduled to play first of the three one-day international matches at the Rawalpindi’s cricket stadium.

The decision faded Pakistan’s hopes to resume international cricket in the country that is facing hurdles since the terror attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009.

Meanwhile, a total of 33-member New Zealand team squad left for Pakistan through a chartered flight amid strict security arrangements placed for them from their hotel up to the airport.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Interior, the New Zealand team left the local hotel in Islamabad on Saturday and reached Islamabad International Airport safely.

New Zealand team returns after abandoning Pak tour Later, the team left Islamabad for Dubai after their Covid-19 tests were conducted successfully at the airport.

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