Sadiq Khan meets British Council ‘Dosti’ project players


KARACHI: London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Friday met the boys and girls of the cricket teams formed under British Council’s Dosti project.

The mayor visited Karachi British Council on the final leg of his six-day trade mission to Pakistan and India, and met with the players and other community members affiliated with the project.

The Dosti project, established by the British Council in Karachi in 2012, works towards breaking social barriers and bringing groups of young people together through sports. The scheme has proved extremely successful, as one of its participants – Umama Asif – is all set to play at the national level for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Following the success of the initiative in Pakistan, the Dosti project has been expanded to include India, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, using football and cricket sessions to build trust, reduce conflict and create safer, stronger and more respectful communities.

The London mayor visited training sessions in Karachi and met with the young cricketers as well as community members, youth workers and coaches.

The mayor also met players from the Pakistani male and female national cricket teams, including Pakistan cricket team captain Sarfraz Ahmed, Pakistan women’s cricket team captain Bismah Maroof, former women’s team captain Sana Mir as well as spin bowling coach and former Surrey and Pakistan player Mushtaq Ahmed.

The mayor expressed his pleasure at spending time with the people from the Dosti project and prayed that the young people he met would pave bright futures for themselves, their families and their city.

British Council Sindh and Balochistan Area Director Christopher Hunt said, “It has been a pleasure to welcome the mayor of London as we celebrate 70 years of the British Council working with Pakistan. Our programmes like DOSTI show the power of sport, culture and education to give young people the skills and confidence needed to fulfil their potential and achieve their dreams. Throughout our work in Pakistan and around the world, the British Council is working to create trust, reduce conflict and create safer, stronger and more resilient communities.”

Former Pakistan and Surrey player and Pakistan National Cricket Academy Head Coach Mushtaq Ahmed said, “I first interacted with participants from the British Council’s Dosti project in Lahore earlier this year when they had visited the National Cricket Academy. I was very impressed with their talent and passion. Dosti is an amazing platform to transform their energy into something positive, especially for children who belong to humble backgrounds. It was a pleasure to meet Sadiq Khan at the British Council today and share ideas around using sports to unleash the potential of young people in Pakistan and the UK.”

The mayor’s visit comes ahead of the Cricket World Cup to be hosted by England and Wales in 2019.