Don’t make Pakistan ‘sports scapegoat,’ Sheikh Rashid claps back at New Zealand

Sheikh Rashid warns of Int'l scheme to carry out terrorist activities in major cities

ISLAMABAD – Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed while hitting out at New Zealand’s unjust decision of abandoning cricket tour said that Pakistan should not make “sports scapegoat” for international agendas.

The minister in a statement termed the New Zealand’s claim about security threat “unfounded”.

“New Zealand team to cancel its tour of Pakistan on Security grounds is unfounded,” he wrote on Twitter.

He highlighted, “US led NATO troops, IMF, World Bank and Diplomatic staff of Embassies in Kabul preferred Pakistan for evacuation. Islamabad hosted them in hotels”.

“Let us not make sports scapegoats for anti Pakistan international agendas,” Sheikh Rashid warned.

Meanwhile, New Zealand cricket team will leave Pakistan today evening as all squad has reached Islamabad airport.

Kiwis reached Islamabad airport at 13:20 hours after they left Serena hotel at 12:55 hours.

A total of 33 New Zealand team Squad will leave Islamabad Airport through a charter flight RJD232 at 1800 hrs today to Dubai, he said

The Covid tests of the departing team have been conducted at the airport.

On Friday, the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) pulled out of the Pakistan tour citing security threats.

The announcement comes minutes before the start of the first ODI match between Pakistan and the Black Caps in Rawalpindi.

This tour, in which New Zealand was to play three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and five Twenty-20 matches, was scheduled to be held from 17 September to 3 October.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board in a statement said that Pakistan made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams.

“We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same. 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,” it said.

New Zealand’s decision has disappointed the cricket fans, who have thronged to Twitter to share their reactions.

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