Senior PPP leader and former defence minister, Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, passed away in Lahore on Wednesday. He was 74.
He was suffering from multiple ailments and had been admitted to the intensive-care unit (ICU) of Shalimar Hospital – a facility he and his family helped develop – where he breathed his last, according to a doctor at the hospital.
He had undergone a surgery in the United States some time ago. At the time, his family had told Dawn that he was suffering from pneumonia and his condition was stable.
The former minister's funeral prayers were offered after Zuhr at the T-Block mosque in Lahore's Defence Housing Authority on Wednesday.
PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari expressed grief on Mukhtar's death, saying he was a "steadfast and experienced leader and an asset of the party".
Bilawal said he was "very grieved" at Mukhtar's death, adding that the party would "forever feel his absence".
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry too expressed grief on Mukhtar's passing away. "We used to have debates on coffee with late Khaled Kharral. Both were centre forwards of PPP and important players of Pak(istan) politics. Both are no more ... will be missed," he reminisced.
PPP Senator Sherry Rehman said she was "very sorry and sad to lose Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar".
"He was a fine man, solid friend and party loyalist, held many offices in the PPP, including party secretary general. Praying for his soul and family in their grief," she said in a tweet.
Former president Asif Ali Zardari also offered condolences on the party leader's death and paid tribute to him for his services.
"Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar was a courageous, brave and loyal companion," he said.
Mukhtar had withdrawn himself from active politics for the last couple of years because of his health issues.
Born in Lahore on June 22, 1946, Mukhtar received his Master of Science degree in Operations Management from California, USA, and also earned a Diploma in Plastic Technology from West Germany.
A businessman by profession, Mukhtar entered politics in 1990 as a member of the PPP. He was elected to the National Assembly in 1993 and was appointed Minister for Commerce till 1996 during the tenure of Benazir Bhutto. In 2008, he was appointed Minister for Defence in the cabinet of Yusuf Raza Gilani and later simultaneously held the post of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) chairman.
He later served as the Minister for Water and Power as well.
He leaves behind a wife, two daughters and a son.