Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry revealed that an Indian device was used to send fake security alarms to New Zealand. One of them also reached the wife of Martin Guptill (New Zealand Cricketer). According to reports, NZ canceled the cricket tour with Pakistan due to the unspecified security threats due to Pakistan expressed disappointment as security measures were presidential.
However, this was only a part of an entire network of threats purposefully generated to prevent the blackcaps from playing in the Pakistan tour. The information minister said that the country was facing a 5th generation hybrid war and these actions damaged international cricket in Pakistan.
Tour Carried on after Wife of Martin Guptill Received Threats
Chaudhry mentioned that it all started on 19th Aug from a fake social media post coming from an account pretending to be Tahreek-E-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan. The post said that an Iran-based terror group Daesh would attack NZ team if it played with Pakistan.
Then on 21st Aug, a chief of an Indian newspaper Abhinandan Mishra wrote an article titled “New Zealand Cricket Team may face a terrorist attack in Pakistan” based on the fake post by a fake account. Chaudhry also said that the writer was in contact with ex-Afghan vice president Amrullah Saleh before publishing the article.
Another threat was generated on 24th Aug, which targeted Laura McGoldrick, the wife of Martin Guptill. She received the email from ID: email@example.com saying if kiwis played with Pakistan, then Martin would be killed.
Despite all of this, NZ continued with the tour and arrived in Pakistan on 12 Sept. Both teams played the training session on 13th, 14th, and 16th Sept without any security concerns. Then NZ suddenly canceled the tour on 17th Sept by making a unilateral decision.
More Threatening Emails from Shady Accounts
NZ may have withdrawn after the incident with Martin Guptill and his wife but the threats did not stop there. The report further said that Interpol asked to look into another suspicious account which sent a threatening email to NZ police on Sept 18. This email ID was firstname.lastname@example.org and was created just 15 minutes before sending the first threatening mail. Reports also revealed that there was no further activity on this account and was solely created to send fake threats. Moreover, a cellphone device RMX 1971 (Realme 5 Pro) was associated with this id, and a VPN was used to sent emails. 13 email IDs were being used from the device out of which only one (hamzaafridi) was made to look like a Muslim name.
As threat email from this account came after the NZ decided to quit, it cannot be the reason for the cancellation of the tour. However, it did malign Pakistan and substantiate the fake security concerns that were being strategically dispersed before 17th Sept.
What Actions Have Pakistan Taken?
Following up on the findings, Pakistan has accused Indian agencies of orchestrating the security threat emails. It also contacted Proton Mail about the fake TTP account and linked it with the same Indian disinformation campaign to discredit Pakistan. It warned other teams to also share similar threats if they ever receive any. Furthermore, it advised the ICC to take notice of these malicious activities by Indians as it can severely affect the game of cricket.
Cricket fans also sensed a similar game when NZ decided to cancel the tour abruptly and unilaterally on 17th Sept. Besides, neither Martin Guptill nor his wife gave any statement regarding the incident.