New Zealand cricket has been deafeningly quiet about the security threat that has put Pakistan’s tour on hold.
New Zealand Cricket officials shrouded the security threat that forced the cancellation of their Pakistan tour on Saturday in secrecy.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan that the squad was afraid of an attack outside the stadium, according to Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad.
The cancellation is a major setback for Pakistan, which has been attempting to resurrect international tours since home internationals were stopped in 2009 following a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team.
The series was called off on Friday, just as the first one-day international was set to begin at Rawalpindi Stadium, just 10 kilometers (six miles) from the team accommodation in Islamabad.
Ardern said the decision was supported by the New Zealand government because “player safety must be foremost.”
The foreign ministry, which has been in communication with New Zealand Cricket, has stated that there is a “ongoing and severe threat from terrorism throughout Pakistan,” but has declined to comment on particular security concerns.
“For all international tours, New Zealand Cricket makes its own security judgments and has its own security procedures in place,” a ministry spokesman said.
When New Zealand Cricket first announced its decision to cancel the Pakistan visit, it cited “a New Zealand government security alert” as well as recommendations from its own security consultants as justifications.
In 2002, the team cut short a visit after a suicide bomber killed 14 individuals, including 11 French naval engineers, outside their team hotel in Karachi.
A New Zealand Cricket spokesperson told AFP that no further statement will be made “at this time,” and that the security threat that prompted the cancellation had been passed on to the Pakistan Cricket Board or any other cricket-playing countries.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has indicated it will decide whether to cancel a tour set for next month in the next 48 hours, while the West Indies and Australia are both planning tours in the next six months.
“There was no threat to cricket in Pakistan, there was no threat to New Zealand, and there is no threat to England,” Pakistan’s interior minister, Ahmad, insisted.
New Zealand was in Pakistan for the first time since 2003, with three One-Day Internationals and five Twenty20 matches scheduled.