The home minister of Punjab province in Pakistan, Shuja Khanzada, on Tuesday made an un-proven statement that the Indian spy and intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) made many attempts to make sure that the Zimbabwe cricket team did not tour Pakistan in the month of May.
“RAW officials sent a text to the Zimbabwe team manager when the team landed in Dubai, threatening him that if they came to Pakistan, none of them would go back alive,” Khanzada said, while addressing the Punjab Assembly.
Khanzada also said that RAW officials had sent a text to the Zimbabwe team manager when the squad landed in Dubai with threats that if their players went to Lahore, none of them would go back alive.
“The team manager then forwarded the message to Pakistani security agencies who upon investigation discovered the number belonged to a RAW official,” the home minister added.
Even an incident during the second One-day International, when a suicide bomber allegedly blew himself up after he failed to penetrate the security ring around the Gaddafi stadium, didn’t derail the tour.
“We foiled RAW’s attempt to abandon the Pakistan vs Zimbabwe cricket series,” he claimed.
Zimbabwe toured Pakistan on May 19 for three ODIs and two T20s. Despite strict security at the stadium, a suicide bomber exploded himself outside Gaddafi Stadium killing two people during the second ODI of the Pakistan-Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe played two T20 matches and three One-day Internationals at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore with all the games drawing capacity crowd. The visiting team was given unprecedented security throughout the tour.
No Test team had toured Pakistan since March, 2009 when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore, killing six Pakistani policemen and a van driver and injuring some of the visiting players. The incident, which triggered a news blackout in Pakistani media, came despite heavy security for the country’s first cricket series on home soil since an attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in March 2009. Security had been ratcheted up for the series with around 4,000 policemen guarding the stadium itself, and a further 2,000 along the route from the Zimbabwe team hotel to the venue.