More people tasked with New Zealand’s security than their forces combined: Rasheed

ISLAMABAD(PEN) : Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Monday commented on New Zealand Cricket’s decision to pull out of Pakistan at the eleventh hour and said that Pakistan tasked more security personnel to ensure the foreign team’s safety than their forces combined.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the minister raised the question of the supposed threat alert to the New Zealand team and asked: “Where were these five countries that issued the threat alert when the security experts were visiting Pakistan and the team was practising on the same ground?”

He was referring to the five-nation intelligence report on the basis of which the New Zealand government called the tour off.

Highlighting the capability of Pakistan’s intelligence, Rasheed informed the media that Pakistani intelligence agencies are one of the strongest agencies in the world.

Responding to the Opposition’s criticism on the return of the New Zealand team, the minister said: “Don’t throw stones at others while living in a glasshouse. A day will come when all international teams will come to play in Pakistan.”

The minister also shed light on other issues, including the issue of identity cards and passports, elections, and the situation in Afghanistan.

He said that those individuals who are in possession of two identity cards or passports should return one to the government by October 31.

As for the situation in Afghanistan, Rasheed said that the Pakistani forces have successfully evacuated 16,000 people from the country.

“Meanwhile, 4,000 people have returned from Pakistan to Afghanistan via the Torkham and Chaman borders,” he said while sharing details with the media.

Rasheed maintained: “We have only one narrative, and that is to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan has conveyed this message at the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO’s) Heads of State Summit in Tajikistan.”

Responding to a question, Rasheed said that Pakistan has not set up any refugee camps on its land. “I visit the border, not for war but to establish peace,” he reiterated.

Answering another question related to the Opposition, the federal minister said that whenever elections take place in the country, the Opposition starts crying foul about rigging.

“Our Opposition is an under-19 team and has started preparing for the elections,” he said, implying that the Opposition is politically immature.