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Former Pakistan cricket captain Shahid Afridi has issued a statement on his YouTube channel explaining why he congratulated Shehbaz Sharif after he became the prime minister and also clarified what he thinks of former prime minister Imran Khan.

The video comes in the wake of social media criticism that Shahid Afridi has been facing after he congratulated Shehbaz Sharif. Talking about his long association with Imran Khan, Shahid Afridi said, “Imran Khan has always been my idol in cricket. He is the reason why my cricket journey started. I don’t know where I would have been, had he not been there. We played together in the 1992 World Cup. I have always praised all the good work he had done. I believe his government did a good job in the healthcare sector. I also believe that a government should get five years to work.”

“I have always seen him as a leader. I have the right to disagree with his policies. Differences of opinion should not be converted into hate,” Shahid Afridi said.

The former captain said he was aware that he will be criticised for extending greetings to Shehbaz Sharif. Clarifying that there was no political reason behind it, Afridi said he believed that whoever comes to the government should be respected because they represent the country in the world. “If we want our country to be respected in the world, we need to respect our government in power. Then only we can expect other countries to respect the government,” Shahid Afridi said.

Shahid Afridi recently gave an interview to a Pakistan’s Samaa TV on the occasion of Eid. The interview took place at his residence with his full family being present there. Afridi was shown some past photographs. One of them was a photo with Imran Khan. During that interview, the photo was taken at a Jalsa of Imran Khan that he attended. “Imran Khan asked me to attend the Jalsa. So I did,” Afridi said.
“So you went to Imran Khan’s Jalsa and also congratulated Shehbaz Sharif?” Afridi was asked in the interview. “I respect Shehbaz Sharif from the beginning. Show me another administrator like him in Pakistan. There is no one. And also I did not congratulate Israel’s PM. I congratulated Pakistan’s PM. If there was someone else in the place of Shehbaz Sharif, I would have congratulated him also,” Afridi said replying to the question.

“I know Imran Khan for a long time. I have been seeing Imran Khan in my dream since 1989. I wanted to be like him. When he came to power, I supported him,” Afridi said.

“I voted for the first time in 2013 because of Imran Khan. But Imran Khan did many mistakes which he must admit. Once he admits it, his party will emerge as a better party. God proves something by giving and also by taking it back. Allah gave it to Imran Khan and now took it back,” Afridi said adding that he always agreed that Imran Khan had the best vision. “But to implement that vision, he needs people. I think Imran Khan should not have left the ground and his ground was parliament. Why again start from the streets?” Afridi said.


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