ISLAMABAD, Feb 28 (Alliance News): The Australian and Pakistani cricket boards and the government security agencies Monday dismissed a threat, made out to Australian cricketer Ashton Agar, warning him not to undertake the tour to Pakistan.
The threat was sent to Agar’s partner, reportedly on Instagram.
“There are extensive security plans in place for this type of social media activity, which, in this case, is not considered a risk. No further comment will be made at this time,” a statement from Cricket Australia said.
The Australian cricket team arrived in Pakistan on Sunday for a tour comprising three Tests, three ODIs and one T20.
“Cricket Australia is aware of a social media post, of which the nature and content have been investigated by the PCB, CA and combined Government security processes.”
Reports in the Australian media said the “Security agencies, CA and the PCB have procedures in place for investigating these kinds of messages that target players and their families. Agar was said to be in good spirits despite the direct message sent to his wife. He is comfortable with the procedures that have been followed.”
The recent threat followed a similar pattern of fake threats that were made to the New Zealand cricket team that too were traced back to accounts being operated from India, security officials said. Asking not to be named he said “Certain quarters in India are seemingly incensed by the rousing welcome to the Australian Team, after 24 years and do not want Pakistan to be seen as a safe and growing country, especially in the foreign media.”
According to information available, a family member of the Australian cricket team received a message on Instagram; urging them not to undertake the visit, as it could have dire consequences.
“This is a warning for your husband Ashton Agar if he comes to tour against Pakistan he won’t come [back] alive.” The message also references Agar’s children, which he does not have,” the message said.
An account on Instagram jyot.isharma391 was used to send the “message” with a given email address: email@example.com.
A search on the internet showed that the person has a LinkedIn account and the stated person Mirdul Tiwari claims to be working for IMC Limited as health, safety and environmental officer based at Amreli, Gujarat.
However, hours after being reported on media the social media accounts of Mirdul Tiwari were deleted. All information related to him on his Facebook, Twitter, the LinkedIn account was removed.
The New Zealand team opted to return home after receiving similar threats, which too were proven to have emanated from accounts whose IP addresses were traced to be in India. The New Zealand team left Pakistan, hours before the start of their first match, despite getting the head of state security protocol. The team and its security staff also appreciated the level of security.
On the other hand, the team from West Indies shared the threats made to them openly on various social media platforms. The British cricket team also opted to cancel the tour, at the last moment, a step over which the entire team later regretted.
According to security officials, “a systematic clandestine campaign” was being orchestrated from India to sabotage all visits of foreign teams to Pakistan and to portray it as an unsafe country.
The Australian security officials had carefully assessed the situation before embarking on the visit and were enthusiastic to start the tour from March 4 in Rawalpindi. Pakistan successfully concluded its 7th Pakistan Super League (PSL) series with a record-breaking number of visitors who attended the event in Lahore.
For the cricket enthusiasts, the visit of the Australian cricket team was a time to cheer and celebrate the spring. Elaborate arrangements have been made for the team’s stay and exciting cricket was about to begin.