Cricket tours cancelled
because Pakistan refused
to give bases: Fawad

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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said on Tuesday that hybrid war and fake news were interlinked and these were fake threats that resulted in the postponement of the recent New Zealand and England tours.

“You will see how all these issues are linked together with the topics of hybrid war and fake news we talk about. How fake emails and fake threats are created and then how great an outcome they have,” he said while addressing a press conference after the Tuesday cabinet meeting.

He said that these cricket tours were cancelled because Pakistan refused to give its bases to US and Prime Minister categorically stated “absolutely not” in a TV interview.

Details of the tour cancellation were being collected and would be shared in a separate press conference, he added.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed (left) and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry address a press conference in Islamabad

He said Pakistan Television Corporation had suffered a financial loss of up to Rs250 million due to the cancellation of New Zealand and England cricket teams tours. The legal teams were working about how to seek compensation for the huge losses, he added.

Fawad had said on Twitter that the government will consult lawyers regarding legal action that can be taken against the foreign cricket boards for cancelling their scheduled tours to Pakistan, wherein he added “This misunderstanding should quickly be rid of”.

“[We] will consult lawyers about legal action against the two boards, A specific foreign lobby is busy [in activities] against Pakistan but those wishing to make us bend will never be successful.”

The minister said that an international lobby was working against Pakistan. He said those who want to force Pakistan to surrender before them never succeed and they should end their misconception as early as possible.

Device used in threat

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference in Islamabad alongside Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said on Wednesday that the device used to send a threat to the New Zealand cricket team belonged to India.

According to Dawn report, he said that the entire situation started due to a fake post by someone claiming to be Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant Ehsanullah Ehsan.

Fawad said that in August, a fake post was created under Ehsan’s name which told the New Zealand cricket board and government to refrain from sending the team to Pakistan as it would be “targeted”.

He said that following this post, the bureau chief of The Sunday Guardian, Abhinandan Mishra, published an article claiming that the team may face a terror threat in Pakistan citing the fake post by Ehsan.

According to its website, The Sunday Guardian was founded by politician MJ Akbar, who served as the minister for external affairs in the Modi-led BJP government till 2018. “Interestingly, [Mishra] has strong links with [former Afghanistan vice president] Amrullah Saleh,” he said.

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