QUETTA: Former women’s national hockey player and athlete Shahida Raza was laid to rest in Mari Abad’s Behesht Zainab graveyard in the presence of hundreds of mourners on Friday.
The body earlier reached Karachi via Turkiye and was brought to her home town, Quetta, on Friday morning by road as the PIA flight was cancelled due to a dust storm in Quetta.
Shahida Raza played for many years in the women’s national hockey and football teams. She had died in a boat wreck off the coast of Italy last month while trying to reach Italy, along with many illegal migrants from Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan who crashed into the rocks trying to reach the shores in Crotone, Italy.
Balochistan Minister for Sports and Culture Abdul Khaliq Hazara, hockey coach Mohammad Abbas, and a large number of people from Hazara and other communities attended her funeral and burial.
She went to Iran in October 2022 for her journey to Italy via Turkiye to earn money for the treatment of her three-year-old son, Hassan, who was paralysed after a few months of his birth. “She wanted to take her son abroad for treatment as doctors informed her that his treatment was not possible in Pakistan”.
Sadia Raza, her younger sister, thanked the government of Pakistan for extending help to the family by bringing back her remains to Quetta from Italy.
However, while talking to the media, she mentioned the attitude of her ex-husband, Sadiq Ali, and said he did not allow the family to bring their son for one last glimpse of her mother.
The three-year-old Hassan was kept by his father after their divorce. “We requested her ex-husband to bring their son for two minutes at our home to see his mother’s face, but he refused,” Sadia said, adding that it was her husband who forced her to quit the departments because she was playing hockey and football.
She said that Shahida was very worried about her son, and she inquired whenever she called us from Turkiye or Iran. Her last message was also about her son; for him, she sacrificed her life.
Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2023
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