Businessman Javed Afridi is no new name. The owner of Haier and the chairman of the Pakistan Super League team Peshawar Zalmi recently sat with Khaleej Times for a tell-all interview, weighing in on being granted the golden visa, bridging the gap between the business community in Pakistan and the UAE, and the way in which the Emirates tackled the Covid-19 pandemic with strength and resilience. “I am very grateful to the UAE leadership for the visa. It’ not just a visa but it also serves as a message to the next generation that if someone has the ability and will power, they can achieve these things too. I am hopeful that this course of action, many investors will come to the UAE,” said Afridi.
Singing praises for how the UAE dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic, he added, “The country’s leadership is exemplary. They have a very big vision for their nation. The UAE has become the biggest attraction for anyone who has some innovative ideas. Also, the responsibility shown by the UAE government during the pandemic has been exemplary.”
Afridi wishes to strengthen ties between the UAE and Pakistan. “We used to come to the UAE for cricket. We (Haier) used to sponsor Pakistan’s bilateral series (in the UAE). But this time they offered the golden visa, so, it’s not just cricket now…. maybe I can become the bridge between the business community here in the UAE and Pakistan,” he noted. He then spilled the beans on the Peshawar Zalmi team, sharing he holds it very close to his heart. “I belong to Peshawar and Peshawar is a city that is very close to my heart too. I was born and brought up there. And I know every inch of that city and I know every inch of my people’s feelings in my city,” noted Afridi.
He then weighed in on Pak-India relations, adding that he hopes to watch more cricket between the two nations once ties improve. “When the relations between Pakistan and India improve, I would like to see matches between PSL and IPL teams. The political differences between the two countries, I hope can be reduced by cricket,” he said. “And if I get a chance to play a role in that, I would be very happy. Now we have a cricketer Imran Khan leading our country. And now we have a great opportunity because Pakistan would be granted visas for the World Cup in India. I think we, as stakeholders in cricket, have a role to play in bringing the two countries together,” concluded Afridi.