ISLAMABAD: Kashmir Committee Chairman Shehryar Khan Afridi on Saturday launched the Kashmir Premier League (KPL) as the first premier cricket tournament of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), vowing to initiate a series of cultural and sports events to raise the voice of Kashmiris globally.
Flanked by President AJK Sardar Masood Khan, former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, who is also announced as brand ambassador for the KPL, KPL Chief Coach Azhar Mahmood, KPL President Arif Malik and CEO Shehzad Akhtar, Shehryar said that the league would help in taking Kashmir to the world sports map.
Shehryar also announced to appoint the AJK president as Chief Patron of the KPL.
“The KPL would put Kashmir on the world sports map. We will raise Kashmir on all forums across the world. The Kashmir Committee would do everything to preserve, project and promote Kashmir’s identity and culture. The ‘K’ word is the buzz word now,” he said.
He said the KPL has been approved by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and federal government. The league has the support of the people of Kashmir. Pakistani cricketers have become the identity of our country. Sports help bring people closer. “The talent of Kashmiri youth will reach to the world through this league. The youngsters of Kashmir have to show their talent to the world,” he added.
He further said that after the launch of the KPL, its second edition would feature KPL Women, which would provide a chance to the girls of Kashmir to come forward and play cricket. The KPL logo ‘play with freedom’ will resonate around the world and Pakistan will keep highlighting Kashmir at forums around the globe.
The AJK president said that the AJK government and people would fully own and support the league, which would provide an opportunity to the Kashmiri youth to showcase their talent through sports. “It was a great feeling to see Shehryar Afridi supporting Kashmir at all levels. I will leave no stone unturned to make the league a success. Kashmiri people have always loved cricket and the KPL would go a long way to project Kashmir globally. The Kashmiri movement would also support the KPL in a big way and it would largely help in projecting Kashmir and its people,” he said.
The KPL president told that six cricket teams Mirpur Royals, Kotli Panthers, Bagh Stallions, Rawalakot Hawks, Overseas Warriors and Muzaffarabad Tigers would participate in the league. The KPL management is indebted to Shahid Afridi, who agreed to act as brand ambassador for the KPL.
Shahid Afridi said that Kashmir is close to his heart and he would love to support the league. He said: “I have played for many teams throughout my cricketing career, but I would love to play for the KPL to return the love I get from the people of Kashmir.”