Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Wednesday revealed that the cancellation of the New Zealand cricket team’s tour of Pakistan as a result of the fifth-generation hybrid war against Pakistan as fake news was generated by India to sabotage it.
Speaking here at a news conference along with Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid, Fawad explained that the threatening email was generated from a secure service, Proton mail, and Pakistan has requested Interpol to assist it in further investigations. He explained that on August 19, a Facebook post was circulated from a fabricated account made in the name of Ehsanullah Ehsan (former spokesman of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan) on the social media, asking the New Zealand Cricket Board and the government not to send the team to Pakistan, as a plan had been made to target the New Zealand team, however, the post was not found on the Facebook.
Fawad said that on August 24, Martin Guptill’s wife had received a threatening email from email ID: firstname.lastname@example.org, threatening to kill Martin Guptill while on tour. The email ID was not associated with any SMN. But interestingly, the very email account was generated at 01:05 am on Aug 24 and emailed on the same day at 11:59 am: It was obvious that the email was generated purposefully as no other activity was found from the same email.
The minister continued that despite all these tactics, the New Zealand tour was not canceled and its team arrived in Pakistan on September 11 and 12 in two chartered flights. The team attended practice sessions at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on September 13 and 14 from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm and no threat alert was reported and both the teams again carried out practice in the evening on September 16.
He said that on September 17, the NZ team/government expressed concern over the reported credible threat and canceled the tour unilaterally without sharing the details of the threat while the next day, Interpol Wellington informed Interpol Islamabad about the receipt of a threatening email to the New Zealand Police from email@example.com at 06:25 am (NZ time), requesting further probe. He added that the New Zealand Police received the threatening email at 06:25 am on September 18, according to the Pakistan Standard Time 23:25 (11:25 pm on September 17).
Fawad said the email firstname.lastname@example.org was generated at 18:10 hrs, Sep 17 (UTC); 2310 hrs/11:10 pm (PST). The email was sent 15 minutes after the ID was created and it was generated for a specific purpose. The email was sent from an associated device in India using a VPN showing the IP address/location of Singapore. The device RMX 1971 (Realme) used 13 email IDs; except Hamza Afridi, all other 12 email IDs have Indian/Hindi names. Apparently, Hamza Afridi was purposefully used to malign Pakistan, which hints at the involvement of Indian agencies.
He said the subject mobile phone was launched in August 2019 in India and the Reliance Jio mobile SIM was registered on this mobile phone on September 25, 2019, indicating a single user. He said that the social media co-relation and exploitation revealed that the possible use of this email ID is an Indian, Omprakash Mishra, from Mumbai.
The minister pointed out that the timing and text of the threat email suggested that this threat was not the reason for the cancellation of the tour but was issued just after the cancellation to malign Pakistan and substantiate the security concerns of New Zealand and other touring countries. He added that Abhinandan Mishra wrote another column on Sept 18 titled “Threat of Kabul Airport-like attack led NZ to cancel Pak tour”.
Fawad noted that another email, after the tour was canceled on September 17, was sent to the New Zealand team on September 17 at 11:25 pm PST, from an ID generated under the name Hamza Afridi. He said the Interpol Wellington intimated the Interpol Pakistan about the threat on September 18. The minister read out the email’s transcript: Dear New Zealand Cricket, you did wrong to go to Pakistan and now see what will happen to you. Your cricket team is not going anywhere now. In every place, the bombs will be placed now, from the hotel to your flight. My men will not forgive you, they are coming to New Zealand. Pakistan Zindabad, Allah hu Akbar.