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Cricket Presenter Zainab Abbas ‘Leaves’ India

In a surprising turn of events, internationally-renowned Pakistani sports presenter Zainab Abbas has left India, where she was a prominent member of the elite commentary team covering the ongoing Cricket World Cup. This unexpected departure has raised questions about the state of cricket diplomacy in a region known for its passionate love of the sport.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed this development on a Monday, attributing her exit to a “personal reason” and emphasizing that she had not been deported. Nevertheless, several Indian media outlets have suggested that her departure may be linked to “security concerns.”

Reports from India indicated that these security concerns arose after a complaint was lodged in Delhi by a local lawyer, accusing Abbas of posting “derogatory” tweets targeting the Hindu faith in the past. The complaint was based on screenshots of tweets allegedly made by an account with Zainab Abbas’ name back in 2014.

ICC official C Rajshekhar Rao confirmed her departure but did not elaborate on the reason behind it, and it remains uncertain whether she has returned to Pakistan. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has refrained from commenting on the matter.

According to an Indian news source, lawyer Vineet Jindal filed a cyber complaint against Abbas with New Delhi police’s cyber cell on October 4th, urging the registration of a case against her under various sections of the law, “for making disparaging remarks about Hinduism and for anti-India statements.”

Subsequently, on October 7th, Jindal shared a redacted version of another letter he had sent to the Board of Cricket Control of India Secretary Jay Shah, seeking action against the Pakistani presenter for her alleged anti-India remarks.

In response, Pakistani news channels, citing unnamed sources close to Abbas, reported that she “categorically denied the allegations” and asserted that she had been “unjustly targeted.” These sources argued that her past social media activity had been “taken out of context” and was “unrelated to her work as a presenter.”

Zainab Abbas’ sudden departure from India serves as a reminder of the intricate relationship between sports, politics, and social media, shedding light on the complexities of the cricketing world’s dynamics in the subcontinent.

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