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SARGODHA: Former federal minister for production Chaudhry Anwar Ali Cheema passed away on Sunday at the age of 81. He suffered a cardiac arrest on Saturday and was shifted to a Lahore hospital, but could not survive.

His funeral prayers were offered at the local sports stadium and were attended by the likes of politicians, lawyers and people from other walks of life. He was laid to rest in his native village Chak 35-SB. His Qul will be held on Aug 2 (tomorrow) at 10am at his residence here.

Cheema had been an MNA from NA-67 (formerly NA-50) for seven consecutive terms from 1985-2013. He was known to be a companion of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif but parted ways and joined the PML-Q when Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi formed the party with the blessings of former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf.

His son’s father-in-law is Chaudhry Tajamal Abbas, a first cousin of Chaudhry Shujaat, due to which he shifted loyalties from PML-N. In the 2013 general elections while contesting for an eighth term as MNA, he was defeated by PML-N candidate Dr Zulfiqar Bhatti, the same candidate he had defeated in the 2008 polls.

He was born on Jan 1, 1935 in Sargodha and did his graduation from Government College, Lahore. He was recruited as naib tehsildar in 1961 but quit in 1974 and subsequently started his political career by contesting elections of the District Council member where he remained vice chairman and chairman till 1987. During his tenure as the chairman he contested from NA-50 and was elected MNA in non-party-based polls; he was also named “Shahenshah-i-Tameerat” by locals for launching several development projects.

APP ADDS: National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi condoled Cheema’s death with his family.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leaders have expressed their grief and sorrow over the demise of Anwar Ali Cheema.

In a statement here on Sunday, Chaudhry Shujaat Husain, Parvez Elahi, Wajahat Hussain, Shafaat Hussain, Moonis Elahi, Shafay Hussain, Salik Hussain, Senator Kamil Ali Agha, MNA Tariq Bashir Cheema, Zaheeruddin Khan and Basharat Raja expressed their condolences.

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2016