Fact Check: Did Email From India Prompt New Zealand To Call Off Pakistan Tour?

Pakistan has blamed India for New Zealand’s decision to call off the cricket team’s tour last week.

Imran Khan’s government on Wednesday alleged that a threatening email was sent to the New Zealand squad from India, which prompted the visitors to call off the Pakistan tour citing security concerns, hours before the first ODI was to start at Rawalpindi.

India hit back promptly, dismissing Pakistan’s claim.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said it was “baseless propaganda” and that Pakistan should first take “action against terrorism emanating from its soil”.

Pakistan’s Information minister Fawad Chaudhry alleged that a fake post had been created, under Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan militant Ehsanullah Ehsan’s name last month, which advised New Zealand’s cricket board and government to refrain from sending the team to Pakistan as it would be targeted.

“Pakistan Cricket Board officials, the interior ministry security team, everyone went to them and asked them to share the threat… but they were as clueless like us,” Chaudhry was quoted as saying by Dawn News.

He added that New Zealand opener Martin Guptill’s wife received an email on August 24 threatening her husband from an ID with the username Tehreek-i-Labbaik. “When we investigated, we discovered this email is not affiliated with any social media network and only one email has been generated from this account,” Chaudhry said.

He went on to claim that a day later, a second threatening email was sent to the New Zealand team using the ID Hamza Afridi and that investigating authorities discovered the mail was sent from a device associated with India.

“It was sent using a virtual private network (VPN), so the location was shown as Singapore,” he claimed.

The same device had 13 other IDs, almost 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.

Pakistan’s interior ministry has registered a case and requested Interpol for assistance on acquiring information on Tehreek-i-Labbaik ProtonMail and ID of Hamza Afridi.

England have also pulled out of their tour of Pakistan which was scheduled in October, leaving the Pakistan Cricket Board and the cricketing fraternity bitterly disappointed.

“This is unfortunate. We believe this is a campaign against international cricket. The International Cricket Council (ICC) and other bodies must take notice,” Chaudhry said.

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