KARACHI: Former Pakistan captains Mohammad Essa and Jaffar Khan have been appointed as “footballers for peace” by UK-based Football for Peace whose work around the world has been endorsed by the United Nations.
Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) former Marketing Consultant Sardar Naveed Haider has been appointed as a “peace activator” for Pakistan.
Naved’s plan is to officially launch the programme in Pakistan in January. He has appointed Essa and Jaffar as “footballers for peace” for Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, respectively. He aims to name a few more former star footballers of Pakistan for different regions.
Former Sports and Marketing Manager of K-Electric Zabe Khan has been made coordinator for Lyari. “It is a social welfare organisation which has been working for peace and understanding between different communities through football,” Naved told ‘The News’ from Lahore on Tuesday.
“We will focus on those troubled areas where there is talent of football,” Naved said. “We will be holding football activities and for that we will generate funds by bringing sponsors,” he added. He said one of Pakistan’s “footballers for peace” could be part of the “match for peace” which would be held in Paris next year.
Football for Peace is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with its headquarters based in London. It is supported by the United Nations Sport for Development and Peace. It was co-founded in 2013 by English-born Pakistani footballer Kashif Siddiqui and Chilean FIFA legend Elias Figueroa.
Kashif, who has represented Pakistan, is keen to work with the PFF to promote sports diplomacy. “Football for Peace have appointed many Peace Activators globally and are very pleased to appoint Sardar Naveed as one as he shares the vision and importance of Football for Peace and will help facilitate our work across Pakistan,” the organisation said in a statement. “Football for Peace is a diplomatic sports movement that creates dialogue and unites people.
“Through its Five-Step Peace Process, the charity seeks to use the power of football to promote dialogue between people from different social, cultural and religious backgrounds.
“Their next stop is Pakistan in order to give the future generations the tools to succeed and bring hope and peace to their own communities.” It added that a national grassroots leadership programme would be launched in near future with the aim of creating 1,000 young “Ambassadors for Peace” in schools across Pakistan.
Kashif said, “The vital work being carried out by Football for Peace reminds us that football brings people together to celebrate both our differences and shared humanity. For me it’s vital to carry on the work and bring hope to Pakistan.”
“Footballers for Peace” include Pele and Ronaldinho. Football for Peace recently supported a campaign with Pope Francis at the Vatican and hosted Indonesian President Joko Widodo in April for a visit to a school in Newham to see its City for Peace in action.
In late 2015 it ran a tournament for peace in Birmingham with Prince William and UN Ambassador for Sport and Peace Wilfried Lemke in attendance.