GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan Governor Dr Shama Khalid passed away in Islamabad on Wednesday. Khalid, 60, had been suffering from cancer.
She was sworn in as the first governor of the region on March 23 this year. Officials in Gilgit said that she had been under treatment in Islamabad, adding that she is survived by two daughters and a son. Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Mehdi Shah in his message expressed grief over Dr Khalid’s sudden demise.
Dr Khalid was a leading social worker who, before becoming governor, would set up free medical camps in different areas of Gilgit-Baltistan every year.
She was a woman of many firsts and was the first-ever woman MBBS doctor of Gilgit-Baltistan. Although she hailed from Astore, she completed her early education in Abbottabad and also started her career as a doctor in the city.
In her six-month period as governor, Dr Khalid spoke of empowering women of this remote region. “I want that the women of this region have easy access to education and jobs,” she had told reporters in an interview a couple of months ago in Gilgit. She had also announced the establishment of a separate university for women in Gilgit.
While she was governor, Gilgit-Baltistan faced two back-to-back disasters: the massive landslide in Attabad and the devastating floods.
On both occasions, Dr Khalid made it a point to visit the disaster-hit people and would make press statements while she was under treatment and could not physically meet the people.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2010.
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