Five Eyes’ alert led to cancellation of NZ’s tour to Pakistan: report

ISLAMABAD: The New Zealand cricket team called off Pakistan tour at the eleventh hour after the Five Eyes, an intelligence alliance of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, United States, and United Kingdom, advised Wellington to do so, NZ Herald reported.

The New Zealand daily said that the security threat was deemed credible before the first ODI match. It led to phone calls between New Zealand Cricket and Pakistan Cricket Board, and Pakistan and New Zealand prime ministers.

“Within 12 hours of those conversations, the tour was cancelled,” the report said.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand cricket team left Pakistan for Dubai on a chartered flight.

The Kiwi players and officials underwent rapid Covid-19 tests at the Islamabad International Airport. They were allowed to board the flight after all the reports came negative amid tight security protocols.

The team reached the airport at 8:10pm after being escorted by a presidential level security team. Special security units had taken control of the route between the hotel and the airport.

The Kiwi team stayed at the state guest lounge at the airport, where they went through rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for Covid-19 before the departure. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had given special permission to the chartered plane, which landed at the airport after a two-hour delay.

On Friday, New Zealand had abruptly abandoned their tour of Pakistan citing a security alert. The Blackcaps had called off the series at the eleventh hour citing unspecified security threats despite being given security assurance by Prime Minister Imran Khan to his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern.

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