KARACHI: Mehdi Shah, a senior bureaucrat and brother-in-law of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, passed away late on Thursday night, reportedly because of complications arising out of the coronavirus that he contracted during a recent pilgrimage to Syria, according to family sources.

A close relative, Zulfiqar Shah, said Mr Mehdi, who was managing director of the Sindh Industrial Trading Estate, had returned from Syria about a month ago.

A senior official in the provincial industries department told Dawn that Mr Mehdi belonged to an educated family of Khairpur. His father was a doctor, his elder brother was a retired officer of the Pakistan Air Force while his other elder brother, Abid Ali Shah, had served as a secretary in the Sindh and federal governments as well as a member of the Sindh Public Service Commission.

Mr Mehdi was in his mid-50s. The officer recalled that Mr Mehdi during his pilgrimage also planned to travel to Iran but could not go there as Tehran had imposed a ban.

Mr Mehdi came to Pakistan through Lebanon and attended his office for a few days but got admitted to hospital because of a persisting fever. A source in the CM House said he was also a diabetic patient.

When contacted, an official at the private hospital refused to share details, saying, “in line with our patient confidentiality policy, we cannot disclose such information.”

Zulfiqar Shah said Mr Mehdi left behind two daughters, a son and his widow to mourn his death. He recalled that Mr Mehdi had also served as deputy commissioner in different districts, including Mirpurkhas.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2020