Pakistan was safe, Pakistan is, and by Allah’s will, Pakistan will always be safe. Hard times come on nations, and as our founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah has said, “Muslims do not panic in difficult times.” Today it’s a difficult time for us, but this hard time will also pass, and Pakistan never bowed and will never bow down to anyone. Pakistan cricket might be facing problems at the moment but this too shall pass.
In September 2021, Rameez Raja took the oath as chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). An international conspiracy hatched to close the doors for Pakistan cricket for very long. The foes of Pakistan do not want peace in Pakistan, & especially the opponents can’t see the cricket revival in Pakistan, so they do such dirty acts. Pakistan was hosting the New Zealand cricket team to play matches in Pakistan.
Conspiracies against Pakistan are not new
As per schedule, the first ODI match between Pakistan & New Zealand was to being played in Rawalpindi on Friday. Minutes before play, the New Zealand cricket backed off suddenly and announced to cancel the tour citing “Security Threats.” The sudden cancellation was a massive setback for Pakistan. PCB had “been actively involved” in reviving Cricket in Pakistan as this nation loves cricket more than any other sport. The sudden cancellation of the tour made the entire Pakistan sad. It was Pakistan’s right to ask the New Zealand team about the security alert.
When PCB chairman Ramiz Raja and the government of Pakistan asked the New Zealand board and their government to provide us the details of the security threat, the New Zealand board refused to give details. It is a shock that their boards did not share any security threat with PCB. It shows the conspiracy against Pakistan on an international level.
The England team also had to come and play in Pakistan in October 2021, and after the decision of New Zealand, Pakistan had guessed that now England may not come either. Pakistan waited for England’s decision and was hoping somehow that England may come. On Monday, the England cricket board (ECB) also announced that England canceled its tour to Pakistan due to security concerns. Pakistan knew that the ECB refusal was already on the card as New Zealand had pulled its team out last week. PCB chairman Ramiz Raja lashed out at ECB in a tweet that, “pulling out of their commitment & failing a member of their cricket fraternity when it needed it most, we are disappointed, but we will survive.”
Was there any security threat?
After the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009, the doors of cricket in Pakistan were closed. Pakistan then conducted definitive operations against the terrorist groups and achieved incalculable successes against them. International cricket returned to Pakistan as the security situation improved. The law enforcement agencies of Pakistan, Armed Forces, and Intelligence agencies did laudable works in reviving cricket in Pakistan. From the restoration of peace in Pakistan to the security of international cricket teams, our Intelligence agencies did their job satisfactorily. The enemy was plotting, and our agencies were thwarting them. After seeing our safety, players from outside started playing here, and along with international matches, We successfully made the Pakistan Super League events possible in Pakistan with foreign players.
Now the question arises; if we are safe, and cricket was reviving in Pakistan, then of which security alert New Zealand was talking? Why did the England cricket board, along with the New Zealand cricket board, canceled their tour? As per the security intelligence sources and the government of Pakistan, our Intel was clear, and there was no threat to any foreign players, coaches, the management, or the New Zealand team. After 18 years, the New Zealand cricket team came to Pakistan to play the series.
Before the arrival, the New Zealand security management expressed satisfaction over the security arrangements and was satisfied until the day before cancelation. Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke with the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on the issue and told her that our Intelligence agencies are the world’s best and there is no threat to the New Zealand team. The security alert was given to the New Zealand board by the Five Eyes. Its an intelligence alliance of New Zealand, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) September 21, 2021
The New Zealand team wanted to go back from the beginning and was looking for excuses. There was no threat or red alert to the New Zealand team. The Presidential Security provided to the Kiwis. The New Zealand team was staying at the Islamabad hotel, 10 kilometers away from the Pindi stadium. At around a 10 KM radius, it was all heavily guarded by the paramilitary forces. The security of the New Zealand cricket team was the responsibility of Unit Zarrar of Special Service Group (SSG) of the Pakistan Army. No one can beat Unit Zarrar when it comes to security. The unit is highly qualified and known for counter-terrorism tactics, hostage rescue, intelligence recon, sabotage, and other high-risk operations. Hundreds of commandos with heavy-armed vehicles, helicopters were deployed for security. Prime Minister even does not take this much security as we were giving to the New Zealand team.
What should Pakistan do now?
Pakistan will overcome the crisis, But it will take a long time to fix the damage. Damage to sabotage the revival of cricket in Pakistan by their boards is a very shameful act. The cancellation of the tour caused a lot of financial loss to Pakistan, but the unbearable loss was to cricket in Pakistan. Pakistan now has only two things to do; the first is to take the New Zealand Board to the International Cricket Council (ICC) and ask them for clarification. The second is for Pakistan to cover its financial loss and seek compensation from the NZ board.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has scheduled a meeting on September 24 with all Pakistan Super League franchise owners, and it shows that Rameez Raja wants to hold matches in Pakistan immediately. Of course, we need cricket matches now because doing so will send a clear message to the world that Pakistan is a safe country. We all should stand with the Pakistan Cricket Board especially, with the chairman Ramiz Raja. Cricketers from all over the world spoke in favor of Pakistan on social media and sent a strong message that Pakistan is safe. The security situation in Pakistan is much better than in any other country, and we will continue to come and play in Pakistan.
DJ Kamal Mustafa is a DJ, Music Producer, Pakistani Film Maker & Journalist. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space