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New Zealand Cricket Tour to Pakistan Raises Security Alarms

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Despite security concerns, the New Zealand cricket team is set to return to Rawalpindi in April 2024 for a series of T20 matches, courtesy of an invitation from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). This visit echoes the tumultuous events of 2021 when the New Zealand team abruptly postponed their tour of Pakistan due to security threats.

Authorities, including the Interior Department, Police, and PCB, are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring the safety of the visiting team.

In 2021, the Rawalpindi police issued a security threat during the New Zealand team’s visit, prompting them to abandon their tour and return home. Fast forward to 2024, and the situation is tense once again, with the Punjab Interior Department issuing a threat alert, leading to heightened security measures across the jails of the punjab province.

The difference this time lies in the scale of security concerns. While in 2021, only the Rawalpindi Police issued a threat alert, the involvement of the Punjab Interior Department in 2024 has elevated the security concerns significantly.

Authorities, including the Interior Department, Police, and PCB, are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring the safety of the visiting team. Special security arrangements are being made for the New Zealand team’s journey from their hotel in Islamabad to the Rawalpindi Stadium, with the closure of highways to general traffic and the shutdown of certain educational institutions to preempt any potential security risks.

Recently, a mega event of the Pakistan Super League was held in which players from all over the world participated. The league matches were also held in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi for which excellent security arrangements were made.

The history of New Zealand’s cricket tours to Pakistan is marked by a rollercoaster of events. In September and October 2021, New Zealand embarked on their first tour of Pakistan since 2003, scheduled to play three ODIs and five T20Is. However, the tour was abruptly called off on the morning of the first ODI match due to a security alert raised by New Zealand Cricket (NZC).

Following negotiations, both cricket boards agreed to reschedule the postponed fixtures, leading to New Zealand’s return to Pakistan in December 2022. Now, in April 2024, the New Zealand cricket team’s visit holds both significance and challenges as they prepare for the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 amidst heightened security concerns.

According to the PCB’s announced schedule for New Zealand men’s cricket team’s tour to Pakistan for five T20Is next month.  The much-awaited series is set to kick off as New Zealand arrives in Pakistan on April 14.

The action-packed series will commence with three T20Is hosted at the iconic Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on April 18, 20, and 21. Following these thrilling encounters, both teams will shift their battleground to Lahore, where the final two T20Is of the series will take place on April 25 and 27, respectively.

Pakistan Gears Up for Thrilling T20 Series Against New Zealand

Waseem Shahzad Qadri
Waseem Shahzad Qadrihttp://wasimqadriblog.wordpress.com/
Islamabad based Senior Journalist, TV Show Host, Media Trainer, can be follow on twitter @jaranwaliya

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