The New Zealand cricket team will leave the nation today, according to Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid.
New Zealand unexpectedly canceled its visit to Pakistan on Friday, citing a security concern. The Blackcaps pulled out of the series at the last minute, claiming undisclosed security risks, despite Prime Minister Imran Khan providing security assurances to his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern.
The foreign team will now leave the nation tonight in the evening on a chartered airplane.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said in a statement that the 33-strong New Zealand team had arrived at Islamabad airport, from whence they will fly to Dubai.
The team’s Covid-19 tests were held at the airport, according to the interior ministry.
Rashid had previously stated that the trip was canceled due to an international ‘conspiracy.’
Rashid had stated at a press conference in Islamabad following the revelation that he would not identify the conspirators. He did, however, add that certain forces sought to use Pakistan as a scapegoat for what occurred in Afghanistan.
Even following promises from the prime minister, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern supported the Kiwi cricket board’s decision to cancel the whole visit due to an unknown security concern.
The trip was supposed to begin on Friday with the first of three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) in Rawalpindi, but the squad did not arrive at the venue.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) then published a statement announcing the tour’s cancellation.
“Following an increase in the New Zealand Government’s danger levels for Pakistan, as well as advice from NZC security experts on the ground, it has been determined that the Blackcaps will not proceed with the trip,” the statement read.
The NZC had declined to provide specifics about the security concern but had stated that plans were being prepared for the team’s departure.