ISLAMABAD: Popular cricketer and former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi has been named a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations anti-narcotics agency.
According to a press statement issued by the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Tuesday, the talented all-rounder has been appointed in recognition of his outstanding sporting record and for his popularity among cricket fans who have nicknamed him ‘Boom Boom Afridi’.
“I have never done anything halfway and will give my all to my new role,” Afridi said, accepting his two-year assignment. “I hate to see drugs ruin the lives of young people. If I can convince even one boy or girl to shirk the habit, I will be proud [of myself].”
Elaborating on why Afridi was chosen for the job, UNODC Pakistan representative Jeremy Douglas said, “He plays with heart. Shahid Afridi is a role model who can speak powerfully against drug abuse. Young people see in him the courage to push boundaries and the will to go on when things get tough.”
Afridi will promote healthy living through sports and emphasise positive values and attitudes during visits to schools and colleges. In 2012, he will witness the impact of the work of UNODC in Pakistan and highlight the need to curb drug use and associated crime.
He is expected to take part in a range of activities, such as a youth cricket tournament, the commemoration of the International Day against Drug Abuse, raising awareness about the importance of ethics in sports, advocating gender-responsive services for drug users and promoting knowledge of drug and HIV/AIDS issues.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2012.