KARACHI - Sindh Minister for Human Settlement, Ghulam Murtaza Baloch, suffering from coronavirus for last few days passed away here on Tuesday evening.

According to official sources the minister was also an MPA from Malir had to put on ventilator due to his precarious condition but could not survive. The news was confirmed by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, who grieved the loss of his colleague.

In a statement, he said: “Baloch died due to the coronavirus. He was a brave and diligent member of the PPP. It will be a difficult task to replace him.”

Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab also offered his condolences. Announcing the sad news on twitter, Wahab said, “he was a genuine political worker & a very polite and humble human being. May Allah SWT bless his soul.”

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah have expressed grief on the death of the party’s Malir district president. “It is very difficult to fill the vacuum created due to his death,” Shah said.

PPP Sindh president Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said that Baloch’s contributions to the party will always be remembered. He offered prayers for the deceased.

Sindh education minister Saeed Ghani said that Baloch will always be remembered for the hard work and contributions he made to the PPP. “Baloch was under treatment at a hospital after contracting the coronavirus,” he added. Baloch had tested positive for the virus on May 14. He had announced his diagnosis on Twitter and asked for prayers for a speedy recovery.

On May 23, he was shifted to the ICU of a private hospital in Karachi after his health started to deteriorate. Earlier today, Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Munir Khan Orakzai passed away from heart failure in Kurram, days after recovering from the coronavirus.

Irfanullah Khan Orakzai, the deceased lawmaker’s nephew, said his uncle had tested positive for the coronavirus in April but made a full recovery and last tested negative on May 8.

He was elected to the Sindh Assembly from PS-88 Malir-II in July 2018 elections.

Baloch is the second lawmaker in Pakistan who have died from COVID-19 after Shaheen Raza, who succumbed to coronavirus last month. She was a PTI lawmaker in the Punjab Assembly.

Senator Moula Bux Chandio tests positive Senior PPP leader and Senator Maula Bux Chandio has also tested positive for coronavirus after which he went into self-isolation. “My wife and son have also tested positive for the virus,” Chandio said, adding: “I am spending time reading books.” Furthermore, he said that he was “fine”.

Several high-ranking government functionaries including federal minister Shehryar Afridi, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and provincial minister Saeed Ghani were also tested positive for COVID-19. Earlier today, MNA Munir Orakzai died of cardiac arrest just weeks after recovering from COVID-19.

CM lifts ban on fishing activities in June

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, keeping in view the cyclones and on-going COVID-19 situation, has decided to provide relief to the fishermen by lifting ban on fishing in June, 2020.

He took his decision on Tuesday in his meeting with PPP MNA Qadir Patel who called on him here at CM House, said a spokesperson to the CM House.

MNA Qadir Patel told the Chief Minister that the fishermen had suffered a lot from the last eight to 10 months due to cyclones, high tides, coronavirus situation and now the annual two months of ban on fishing have approached. In such a situation, the fishermen would not be able to survive.

It may be noted that the government imposes two months ban, June and July, on fishing for breeding but the fishermen were out of work from last many months.

The CM said that he was well-aware of the situation, therefore he would provide relief to the fishermen.

He directed Secretary Fisheries to put up a summary to lift the ban on fishing in June so that with the easing off lockdown fishermen could resume their fishing work and earn bread and butter fot their children.