Former president of the Associated Press Of Pakistan's employees' union and senior journalist Zafar Rasheed Bhatti passed away due to the coronavirus on Monday, a press release by the news organisation said.

Bhatti had joined APP in 1984 before working in various news organisations, including Nawa-i-Waqt and Pakistan Press International, it said.

According to his friends and colleagues, he was a vocal personality who stood up for the rights of media workers. Bhatti was also involved with the Rawalpindi and Islamabad press clubs and their journalists' union. In his later years, he was an active member of the Tableeghi Jamaat, it added.

According to the statement, Bhatti is believed to have contracted the virus during a Tableegh visit. It added that he had gotten sick a month ago and was admitted to a quarantine facility in Rawalpindi when he began showing symptoms.

Speaking to, APP News Director Shafiq Qureshi said Bhatti had tested positive for the virus and was treated at the Rawalpindi Institute of Urology for 10 to 12 days.

PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb offered her condolences on the occasion, saying that Bhatti was a "seasoned journalist and a sympathetic trade unionist".

Due to exposure to patients and treatment facilities and lack of protective gear, journalists are at a risk of being infected.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan has assured on multiple occasions that personal protective equipment will be provided to reporters and media persons but it is not clear if the government has followed up on the promise.

On Saturday, two media persons including a reporter and a cameraman from Azad Jammu and Kashmir had tested positive.


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