Zainab Abbas not deported, left India for personal reasons: ICC

Published October 9, 2023
A file photo of Zainab Abbas. — Via X
A file photo of Zainab Abbas. — Via X

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday denied that Pakistani sports presenter Zainab Abbas was deported from India — where she was a part of the World Cup 2023 broadcast team — adding that her exit from the country was due to “personal reasons”.

ICC official C. Rajshekhar Rao confirmed the development to Arab News, although some media reports suggested her departure was necessitated by “security concerns”, which arose after a complaint was filed in Delhi last week by a local lawyer, who accused her of posting “derogatory” tweets targeting the Hindu faith in the past.

The complaint was rooted in screenshots of posts made by an account with Abbas’ name in the Twitter handle on micro-blogging site X (formerly Twitter) in 2014.

Dawn.com could not independently verify the veracity of the tweets attributed to Abbas in the complaint, and has also reached out to her for a comment.

However, another tweet of hers, which was indeed from her official account, was cited in the complaint merely because of its pro-Kashmir content.

According to Indian news website OPIndia, the lawyer named Vineet Jindal had on Oct 4 filed the cyber complaint against Abbas with New Delhi police’s cyber cell.

The complainant had also sought a registration of a first information report (FIR) against the presenter under various sections of the law “for making disparaging remarks about Hinduism and for anti-India statements”, the report added.

In his post on X, the advocate demanded that the presenter be removed from the list of presenters for the ongoing World Cup, claiming that “anti Bharat people are not welcome in Bharat.”

Two days later, on Oct 7, Vineet shared a redacted version of another letter he sent to Board of Cricket Control of India Secretary Jay Shah. The letter in question contained the recipient’s name and the subject and sought action against the presenter for her alleged anti-India remarks.

Meanwhile, Samaa TV, citing unnamed sources, said that Abbas “categorically denied the allegations” and insisted that she was “unjustly targeted”.

The report also quoted sources close to the presenter as saying that she has been falsely accused and that her past social media activity was “taken out of context” and “unrelated to her work as a presenter”.

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