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Javed Afiridi speaks at the Peshawar Press Club on Monday. — INP
Javed Afiridi speaks at the Peshawar Press Club on Monday. — INP

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar Zalmi, the winner of the Pakistan Super League 2017, has revealed it is in contact with the Afghanistan Cricket Board to explore possibilities for bilateral matches.

“Our negotiations with the Afghanistan Cricket Board are underway to play joint matches and thus, promoting peace in the region,” Peshawar Zalmi owner Javed Afridi told the ‘Meet the Press’ programme at the Peshawar Press Club on Monday.

Mr Afridi said Pakistan and Afghanistan should forget about differences and join hands for promoting love, peace and development in the region.

He congratulated Afghan nationals on the eve of Nauroz (New Year) event.

Owner urges Islamabad, Kabul to promote love, peace, development

The Peshawar Zalmi owner said he was happy at the reopening of Pak-Afghan border and hoped it would mitigate the misery of the people living on both sides of the border.

He said his recent meetings with Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Peshawar corps commander and FC inspector general turned out to be very fruitful as they assured him of full support on the plans for the promotion of sports activities in Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“It is the need of the hour that all institutions and people of different sectors join hands to work for the restoration of peace on our soil,” he said.

Mr Afridi said he would set up a sports foundation to promote the grooming talents in Fata and KP.

He said he was happy to see the recent PSL victory of his team cheer up the Fata and KP people suffering from lots of misery and agonies for years.

The Peshawar Zalmi owner said the credit went to the entire Pakistani nation, particularly the people of Fata and KP, for giving an overwhelming response to the PSL final in Lahore.

He also thanked international players for coming to Lahore to play the final.

“The foreign players also wanted to cheer up Pakistanis by playing in Lahore after they were given assurance of foolproof security,” he said.

Mr Afridi said the success of the PSL, which was a dream for him, happened due to his and Shahid Afridi’s efforts.

He said if the Pakistan Cricket Board handed the Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium over to him, he would renovate it and made it of international standard again.

The Peshawar Zalmi owner said his team’s players didn’t back out on their commitment of shaving their heads after winning the PSL final and that that would happen after they performed Umrah.

Peshawar Zalmi coach Mohammad Akram, who was also in attendance, said his team had begun the PSL journey two years ago at the Army Public School to cheer up all children affected in the carnage.

He said the credit of his team’s victory went to Javed Afridi and Shahid Afridi.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2017