Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has said that threats received by the New Zealand cricket team were from fake email IDs that were generated by a device operated from India.
In a joint presser with Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, Fawad said that on August 19, a fake Facebook post by someone claiming to be Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Ehsanullah Ehsan was created.
The post asked the New Zealand cricket board and government not to send their team to Pakistan as IS could target the team in Pakistan, Fawad said. He continued that following this post, on August 21, the bureau chief of The Sunday Guardian, Abhinandan Mishra, published an article claiming that the New Zealand team may face a terrorist attack in Pakistan.
"Interestingly, Mishra has strong links with former Afghanistan vice president Amrullah Saleh," Fawad added.
The information minister continued that on August 24, the wife of New Zealand opener Martin Guptill received an email threatening her husband.
Upon investigation, Fawad said, they found that the email was sent via ProtonMail, a secure service. Interestingly, he said, only one email has been generated from this account. Despite all these threats, the New Zealand team did not cancel their tour to Pakistan and arrived in the country, Fawad said.
He revealed that both Pakistan and New Zealand's security agencies had probed and arrived at the conclusion that the threats issued on August 19, 21, and 24 were all fake.
On September 17, the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) informed Pakistani authorities that the team had received information of a security threat from its government and would cancel the tour, Fawad added.
"When we asked them for details regarding the threats, they were clueless," Fawad said. Another email was also sent the next day under the name of Hamza Afridi, he added.
He further said that Interpol Wellington informed Interpol Pakistan about the threat on September 18.
"Dear New Zealand Cricket, you did wrong to go to Pakistan and now see what will happen to you. Your cricket team is not going anywhere now. In every place, the bombs will be placed from the hotel to your flight. My men will not forgive you, they are coming New Zealand. Pakistan Zindabad, Allah hu Akbar," the minister read out the email's transcript.
"Probing the email revealed that it was sent from an associated device in India, showing a virtual private network (VPN) location as Singapore," Fawad said. The same device had 13 other IDs, majority of which were Indian names, he said.
He continued that all IDs were made using the names of Indian actors and celebrities, adding that only the name Afridi was used deliberately to show that a terrorist threat is present in Pakistan.
"This whole threat was primarily generated from India," Fawad added.
The information minister also called on the New Zealand government to share the specifics of the threat they had received. He added that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi currently in New York, has also lodged a strong protest with New Zealand.