Pakistan paying price of ‘absolutely not’, says Fawad on NZ, England tour cancellations


ISLAMABAD, SEPT 21: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday said Pakistan is paying the price for its stance of “absolutely not” with regards to the recent tour cancellations by the New Zealand and England cricket boards.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Monday that it was withdrawing both its men’s and women’s teams from their Pakistan tour scheduled for next month. The ECB’s decision came three days after New Zealand abandoned their tour of Pakistan citing a “security threat” minutes before the first One Day International match was scheduled to start at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Friday.

Addressing a post-cabinet meeting press conference, Chaudhry termed the entire situation “unfortunate”.

“If nations want to hold their head high then there is a price for that and nations pay that. I think Pakistan is ready to deal with any challenge.

“If you say ‘absolutely not’ then it has a price and you have to pay it,” the information minister said.

He was apparently referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s comments in June when he categorically said that Pakistan would “absolutely not” allow any bases and use of its territory to the US for any sort of action inside Afghanistan — his clear-cut response surprising the interviewer.

Regarding the fallout from the tour cancellations, Chaudhry reiterated his comments on Twitter from earlier in the day and said Pakistan Television had incurred losses of “Rs200 million to Rs250m” in the entire affair and lawyers were being consulted regarding any legal action that can be pursued against the two boards.

The information minister said “very important” information had been received and he would hold a detailed briefing on the affair with the interior minister about “what is happening”.

“You will see how all these issues are linked together with the topics of hybrid war and fake news we talk about. How fake emails and fake threats are created and then how great an outcome they have.”

Chaudhry said the briefing would be held very soon in the next few days.