RAWALPINDI: Former senior journalist of Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) and a prominent unionist Zafar Rashid Bhatti passed away at the age of 70 due to COVID-19.
According to a press release issued by APP, Bhatti is believed to have contracted the COVID-19 during a Tableegh visit.
The statement further said that Bhatti had gotten sick a month ago and was admitted at Rawalpindi Institute of Urology for 10 to 12 days.
Bhatti had joined APP in 1984 before working in different news organisations, including Pakistan Press International (PPI) News Agency and Nawa-i-Waqt.
According to his friends and colleagues, he was a vocal personality who stood up for the rights of media workers.
Bhatti was also involved with the Rawalpindi and Islamabad press clubs and their journalists’ union. In his later years, he was an active member of the Tableeghi Jamaat, the statement read.
Meanwhile, senior politician from various political parties and journalist community offered their condolences on the occasion, saying that Bhatti was a “seasoned journalist and a sympathetic trade unionist”.
They prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in eternal peace and grant courage and fortitude to the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss with fortitude.
Due to exposure to patients and treatment facilities and lack of protective equipment, journalists are at a risk of being infected across the country.
Former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan has assured on multiple occasions that personal protective equipment will be given to reporters and media persons but it is not clear if the government has followed up on the promise.
On Saturday, two media persons including a reporter and a cameraman from Azad Jammu and Kashmir had tested positive for COVID-19.
The confirmed COVID-19 infections in Pakistan have surged past 14,057 after new cases were reported in several areas of the country.
According to the provided details from the Sindh health departments, almost 473 news cases were reported in the past 24 hours.
The confirmed coronavirus infections have reached 14,057. So far, the deadly virus has claimed lives of almost 292 people across the country.
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