By Our Staff Reporter
Islamabad: Addressing a joint press conference in Islamabad Today, two influential federal Ministers of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet including federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry and federal interior Minister Shaikh Rasheed said that the gadget used to send a threat to the New Zealand cricket team belonged to India.
“It all started following a fake post by someone claiming to be Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant Ehsanullah Ehsan. A fake post was created under Ehsanullah Ehsan name warned New Zealand cricket board and government to refrain from sending the team to Pakistan as it would be targeted,” Ministers told the journalists.
According to a story carrieed by Dawn, one of Pakistan’s respected newspaper, on August 24, New Zealand opener Martin Guptill’s wife received an email threatening her husband from ID with the username “Tehreek-i-Labbaik”.
“When we investigated further, we discovered some facts. Firstly, this email is not affiliated with any social media network […] and only one email has been generated from this account,” he said.
The minister added that the email was sent via ProtonMail, a secure service. “The details [of the email] are not available and we have requested Interpol to assist us and tell us how it was generated.”
Despite these events, the New Zealand cricket team did not cancel the tour at this point and travelled to Pakistan. “As the interior minister said, the security we provided outnumbered the number of people in their forces,” he said.
Fawad said that once the Black Caps arrived, the interior ministry issued a detailed protocol programme for them and the teams began focusing on the practice sessions. The New Zealand team participated in the practice sessions “without any issues,” he said.
However, on the day of the first match New Zealand officials said that their government had concerns of a credible threat and cancelled the tour, he said.
“Pakistan Cricket Board officials, the interior ministry security team, everyone went to them and asked them to share the threat … [but] they were as clueless as us.”
He said that a day later, a second threatening email was sent to the New Zealand team using the ID, Hamza Afridi.
He said that when authorities probed the email, they discovered that it was sent from a device associated with India. “It was sent using a virtual private network (VPN) so the location was shown as Singapore.”
He said that the same device had 13 other IDs, nearly all of which were Indian names. “All IDs were made using the names of Indian actors and celebrities. Only the name Hamza Afridi is different to show that this email was generated from Pakistan.
“His name was used deliberately to show that a terrorist threat is present in Pakistan.”
He said that the user of the particular device had been identified as Omprakash Mishra from Maharashtra. “The device used to send the threat to the New Zealand team belonged to India. A fake ID was used but it was sent from Maharashtra.”
The minister added that the interior ministry had registered a case and had requested Interpol for assistance and information on the Tehreek-i-Labbaik ProtonMail and the ID of Hamza Afridi.
“This whole threat was primarily generated from India,” Dawn quoted the Minister as saying.