Why was Zainab Abbas deported from India?

Pakistani presenter Zainab Abbas has left India after facing backlash over “derogatory and provocative” social media posts that a local Indian lawyer claimed were made by her against his country. Abbas, 35, was part of the official digital team covering the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.

Renowned Pakistani presenter Zainab Abbas has left India after facing flak on social media over her alleged Hinduphobic and anti-India posts in the past that have been making rounds across platforms.

Pakistani sports journalist Zainab Abbas

Rumours on social media suggest that she has been deported but an ICC spokesperson has told the news agency PTI (Press Trust of India) that she has gone back due to personal reasons.

Zainab was associated with the digital team of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and was in Hyderabad to cover Pakistan’s matches at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in the city.

Zainab was also expected to travel to all the venues where the Pakistan cricket team is slated to play. She is not the only Pakistani who came to India to cover the marquee tournament. Former Pakistan cricketers Waqar Younis and Ramiz Raja have also arrived and are a part of ICC’s star-studded commentary panel for the showpiece event.

Meanwhile, the Babar Azam-led Pakistan have only played one game in the tournament thus far and were able to register victory in the same. They took on the Netherlands in their campaign opener at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium on October 6 and emerged victorious by 81 runs.

Batting first, the 1992 World Cup winners were in a spot of bother after losing their first three poles with just 38 runs on the board but resilient half-centuries from Saud Shakeel and wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan helped them reach 286 on the board.

Defending 286 didn’t turn out to be much of a task as pacers Haris Rauf (3/43) and Hasan Ali (2/33) made light work of Netherlands’ batting order and restricted the Dutch to a mere 205 in 41 overs. Pakistan will take on Sri Lanka at the same venue on Tuesday, October 10.

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.”


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