KARACHI: Ghulam Murtaza Baloch, Sindh’s minister for human settlement, died on Tuesday after testing positive for coronavirus more than three weeks ago, officials and his family sources said.

The 55-year-old senior member of the Pakistan Peoples Party, who was elected member of the Sindh Assembly from the party’s stronghold of PS-88 (Malir), tested positive for Covid-19 on May 14. His condition from day one, the officials said, remained critical and he was even shifted to the intensive care unit of a private hospital.

“Haji Ghulam Murtaza Baloch, our colleague in #Sindh Cabinet has passed away today,” tweeted Adviser to the Chief Minister Barrister Murtaza Wahab. “He was suffering from #COVID-19. He was a genuine political worker & a very polite and humble human being. May Allah SWT bless his soul.”

Murtaza Baloch tested positive for Covid-19 on May 14

Some half a dozen members of the Sindh Assembly belonging to both the opposition and ruling parties have tested positive for Covid-19 during the last one month.

The provincial assembly’s new session is scheduled to be held on June 3 [today] on the opposition’s requisition.

As per standard operating procedures announced by the Sindh Assembly’s secretary, all members have to go through coronavirus screening and only those who test negative would be allowed to attend the sitting.

Condolence messages started pouring in minutes after news of MPA Baloch’s demise hit news channels’ headlines.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ai Shah and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari were among those who expressed grief and sorrow over his death.

PPP co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari also expressed grief over the demise of MPA Baloch.

Funeral prayers for Murtaza Baloch were scheduled to be held late Tuesday night in his native Gadap Town.

As the Sindh Assembly session is scheduled to resume on Wednesday (today), Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla gifted a “sanitising gate” to the Sindh Assembly to serve as a precautionary measure in fight against coronavirus.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2020