LAHORE / QUETTA: Two MPs – one from the Punjab Assembly and the other from the Balochistan Assembly – died of Covid-19 on Wednesday.
They were identified as Shaheen Raza, who is a member of the Tehabek-i-Insaf (PTI) of Pakistan from the Punjab Assembly, and Syed Fazal Agha, who is a member of the Balochistan Assembly of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl)
Ms Raza died at Mayo Hospital in Lahore. He is 68 years old. Agha died at Aga Khan Hospital, Karachi. He is 74 years old.
Both became the first senior politicians to die from coronaviruses in Pakistan.
Ms Raza has been using a ventilator in the Mayo Hospital intensive care unit since she was taken there from Gujranwala three days ago.
“He is on a ventilator because of his critical condition because he is suffering from several health problems,” Professor Asad Aslam, chief executive of Mayo Hospital, told Dawn.
He said when Ms Raza was taken from the Gujranwala Civil Hospital, her lungs were almost damaged and she had serious respiratory problems.
Prof. Aslam said the MPA had participated in a door-to-door ration distribution campaign in Gujranwala recently and remained in close contact with people during the height of the pandemic.
He said Gujranwala was one of the top five districts of Punjab which reported the most confirmed cases besides having a high death rate from Covid-19.
Prof. Aslam said that the MPA was transferred to the Gujranwala hospital late and it was a common complaint that patients who tested positive for the virus were brought to the hospital at the final stage of the disease.
Shaheen Raza was elected to the Punjab Assembly in the seats reserved for women.
He was laid in his original grave in Gujranwala by complying with standard virus-related operating procedures.
Deputy Commissioner Sohail Ashraf and several members of his family attended his funeral.
President Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Chief Punjab Minister Usman Buzdar and several members of parliament have expressed their condolences to his family.
“Fazal Agha died at Aga Khan Hospital, Karachi, due to coronavirus tonight,” said a family member.
Fazal Agha was reported positive for coronavirus last week and has quarantined himself at his residence in Pishin. He was transferred to the Aga Khan Hospital, Karachi, three days ago after his condition worsened.
During the second term of the PML-N administration, then prime minister Nawaz Sharif appointed Agha as governor of Balochistan and he served in that position from 1997 to 1999.
Fazal Agha fought for the provincial assembly elections in 2008 with a PML-N ticket from Pishin, but lost. However, before the 2018 election he left the PML-N and joined the JUI-F and participated in the election to become a member of the Balochistan Assembly.
He was born in Killi Huramzai, Pishin district in 1946. His body will be brought to his native village and buried there on Thursday (today).
Published in Dawn, May 21, 2020
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