Security provided to New Zealand in Pakistan outnumbered their forces: minister

Security provided to New Zealand in Pakistan outnumbered their forces: minister

Islamabad (Web Desk): Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmad on Monday stated that Pakistan tasked more security personnel than New Zealand's entire forces to ensure Kiwis safety.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the minister said this while responding a query regarding New Zealand cricket team's recent decision to abandon its Pakistan tour minutes before the first match was scheduled to begin.

Criticizing the opposition, Sheikh Rashid said, "Don't throw stones at Sheikh Rashid of the Ministry of Interior while living in a glass house," he said, adding that the cabinet had provided the New Zealand team with security by the Pakistan Army. He it was the government's "responsibility" to do so.

The interior minister said that other teams had visited Pakistan in the past without any issues.

He also called on the nation to not be disappointed, stating that the day will come when international teams will want to play in Pakistan.

The minister also questioned the "Five Eyes" alliance", asking "where were the security experts when the New Zealand team was practicing here for three days."

Sheikh Rashid said that Pakistan's security forces were among the world's strongest agencies, saying there was no threat alert that prompted the Kiwis to abandon the tour at the last minute.

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

Talking about Afghanistan’s situation, he categorically stated that Pakistan has neither established any 'Mohajir' camp nor has received new refugees from Afghanistan.

The interior minister said Pakistan wants return of three million Afghan refugees to their homeland after the return of stability there.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said Pakistan has helped evacuate 16,000 people including diplomats and representatives of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank from Afghanistan.

"Meanwhile, 4,000 people have returned from Pakistan to Afghanistan via the Torkham and Chaman borders," he said.

The minister maintained that Pakistan has 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," he said.

Responding to a question regarding security measures taken for Chehlum processions, Sheikh Rashid said that the Pakistan Army and Rangers would be deployed to assist the provinces.

“Mobile phone services will also be suspended at the request of provincial governments,” he added.

Commenting on local body elections in Islamabad, the interior minister said that local body elections in Islamabad will now be held in 100 wards instead of 50. He added that this was approved by the federal cabinet.