From left: Shahid Afridi, Dr Faisal Ikram and Dr Ziaul Hassan unveiling a plaque for the proposed fitness centre after signing an agreement at the Pakistan Association in Dubai. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: Pakistan cricket star Shahid Afridi, who announced his retirement from international cricket last week, has started his second innings in the field of helping underprivileged people.

The Shahid Afridi Foundation, a charity run by Afridi, will bear the cost of building the health and fitness centre which will be part of the planned Pakistan Medial Complex — a non-for-profit health care facility to be built at the Pakistan Association in Dubai (PAD) to provide free medical treatment to deserving patients.

The project, which is scheduled to be ready by 2018, is being built based on a novel concept. PAD offers community members 12,000 bricks to own with a price tag of Dh1,000 for each brick in a bid to raise Dh12 million for the construction of the building.

The Shahid Afridi Foundation has taken the responsibility of raising funds for 1,000 bricks (Dh1 million) to cover the cost of the health and fitness centre, which will be named after the cricket legend’s foundation.

Afridi and PAD president Dr Ziaul Hassan also signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at a ceremony attended by a large number of community members at the association on Monday.

The former Pakistan captain said he was overwhelmed by the response from the Pakistani community towards the medical center.

“My foundation constantly works for the underprivileged in the rural areas of Pakistan, especially in the Thar area where there is scarcity of water. Our mission is to serve humanity,” he said.

Afridi, 38, has been helping the underprivileged in recent times. Just in January, he had paid Dh80,000 to get some 30 Pakistani prisoners released from Dubai jails. Afridi Foundation, established in March 2014, is helping build hospitals and providing free education for children and digging wells in remote areas.

Soon after the ceremony, Afridi tweeted, “Proud that @SAFoundationN is a part of Pakistan Center project, overwhelmed by the response from the Pakistani community in DXB #HopeNotOut”

“Dh6.4million out of total Dh12 million required for the project have already been pledged by the Pakistani community and we are looking forward for our countrymen in the UAE to own more bricks and become a part of this landmark project” said Dr Faisal Ikram, General Secretary of PAD.

“It is a privilege for us that the Shahid Afridi Foundation has become a part of this community project in Dubai,” he added.