TOBA TEK SINGH: Veteran politician M. Hamza died of Covid-19 at Gojra on Sunday. He was 92.

He had been fighting the dreaded virus for the last few days and eventually breathed his last. His funeral prayer will be offered at Gojra’s Government Postgraduate College ground at 9:30am on Monday (today).

Hamza was a seasoned politician who was twice elected West Pakistan Assembly member from Toba Tek Singh and won the MNA seat from Gojra in four elections. He was one of the few West Pakistan Assembly members who was quite vocal against military dictator Gen Ayub Khan while speaking on the assembly floor.

He as an MNA also remained a critic of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his second tenure but stood by the leader when Gen Pervez Musharraf toppled his government. He was awarded the Senate ticket by Nawaz Sharif and won in 2012, though he had not applied for it.

In the 2013 general election, Hamza’s son Osama Hamza demanded the PML-N ticket on his father’s constituency from where he (Hamza) faced consecutive defeats in 2002 and 2008 general elections but the party awarded ticket to Chaudhry Khalid Javed Warraich (now MNA) and offered Osama Hamza an MPA ticket which he refused. Osama contested NA-92 seat as an independent candidate after quitting the PML-N and remained runner-up by getting 62,000 votes. He was again runner-up in the 2018 election when he was awarded awarded ticket by the PTI.

During his long political career M. Hamza faced incarceration for many years. He was one of the few politicians of the country who had no corruption allegations against them. He stayed close to the masses whether as an MNA, a Senator or without any position and moved on Gojra roads and streets by his bicycle. He was unable to use his bicycle in the last few years and was forced to walk with the help of a walking-stand.

His another son, Ikrema Hamza, is an engineer and currently working on a key position in a mobile phone company.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2021

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