KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader Naeemul Haq, who died of cancer a day earlier, was laid to rest in Gizri graveyard of Karachi’s DHA on Sunday.
The funeral prayer, led by former senator Maulana Tanveerul Haq Thanvi, was held at Ayesha Masjid in DHA. Senior leaders of the PTI including Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Deputy Speaker National Assembly Qasim Khan Suri and many others attended the funeral prayer.
Leaders associated with MQM-Pakistan, PPP, PML-N among other officials were also present at the last rituals.
The PTI has suspended all political activates and announced three days of mourning over the sad demise of its founding member.
PTI’s Naeemul Haque passes away aged 70
Speaking to media outside Haque's residence, Federal Minister for Interior Brigadier Ijaz Ahmed Shah said that "Haque was a founding member and a long time partner of Imran Khan".
"For two years, he battled a deadly disease," he continued. "But he helped organise and rally the party for elections which led to the formation of the government.
"The void left by him will not be filled," added Shah.
Central Vice President and Administrative Head of PTI Central Secretariat Zahid Hussain Kazmi has said that the party’s central secretariat will remain open during this period to those coming in for condolence.
In addition, the party will pay tribute to the late leader and his many services for the nation along with memorial services and Quran Khwani(s) organised throughout the country, Kazmi added.
Kazmi further revealed that after the funeral prayer, the party’s central leadership will be present with the workers in the central secretariat of PTI in Islamabad.
Condolences poured in from both friends and political opponents on the passing of Haque.
Premier Imran said he was “devastated” by Haque’s demise.
“He was one of the 10 founding members of the PTI and by far the most loyal,” he tweeted. “In 23 years of PTI’s trials and tribulations, he stood by me. He was always there for support whenever we were at our lowest ebb,” he added.
“In the last two years, I saw him battle cancer with courage and optimism. Till the very end, he was involved in party affairs and attended cabinet meetings as long as he was able. His passing has left an irreplaceable void.”
In the last two years I saw him battle cancer with courage and optimism. Till the very end he was involved in Party affairs and attended cabinet meetings as long as he was able. His passing has left an irreplaceable void.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) February 15, 2020
The ruling party also paid homage to the seasoned politician, calling him a dedicated Pakistani, a loyal friend and a kind human being. “The entire PTI family is aggrieved upon Naeemul Haque’s sad demise. May Allah bless his soul in the highest ranks of Jannah,” the party wrote on its official Twitter handle.
A dedicated Pakistani, a loyal friend and a kind human being, the entire PTI Family is aggrieved upon @naeemul_haque ‘s sad demise. May Allah bless his soul in the highest ranks of Jannah.— PTI (@PTIofficial) February 15, 2020
President Dr Arif Alvi expressed his profound grief over Haque’s demise. He prayed for the departed soul and offered condolences to the bereaved family.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS ) General Qamar Javed Bajwa also expressed grief on the sad demise of Haque. “May Allah bless the departed soul and give strength to the bereaved family, Aamen,” he was quoted by military’s media wing, the ISPR, as saying.
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, who is the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, also offered his condolences to the bereaved family and the party. “Very sad to hear about the passing away of Naeemul Haque. May Allah rest his soul in peace!” he tweeted.
Very sad to hear about the passing away of Naeem-ul-Haq. My profound condolences to the bereaved family and the PTI. May Allah rest his soul in peace!— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) February 15, 2020
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ
Several other political leaders also issued statements expressing their sorrow over the PTI leader’s demise while the social media was flooded with condolence messages.
Naeem Ul Haq fought like a lion aagainstt Cancer, a friend, elder and a colleague .... will always be missed... may Allah Rest his soul in peace #RIPNaeemUlHaq— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) February 15, 2020
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said it was difficult to imagine PTI without Haque.
“In Naeem’s passing I have lost a unique friend. His humour, his political support for me in PTI, his passion for music, his temper – and his fight against cancer till the end – all was so “Naeem”! Can’t imagine PTI without Naeem frankly! So many wonderful memories come flooding,” she tweeted.
In Naeem's passing I have lost a unique friend. His humour, his political support for me in PTI, his passion for music, his temper - & his fight against cancer till the end - all was so "Naeem"! Can't imagine PTI without Naeem frankly! So many wonderful memories come flooding.— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) February 15, 2020
Punjab chief minister former spokesperson Dr Shahbaz Gill lauded Haque as a hero, saying, “Always saw him smiling during the very painful cancer treatment process”.
Sad news. Naeem bhai is no more. RIP. He fought like a hero. Always saw him smiling during the very painful cancer treatment process.— Dr. Shahbaz GiLL (@SHABAZGIL) February 15, 2020
Matsuda Kuninori, the ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, in a statement said: “The late Naeemul Haque was a great friend of Japan and myself personally and I feel deeply saddened over his tragic death.”
Japan loses a ‘great friend’ in Naeemul Haque
The Japanese envoy expressed his deepest sympathies with the family and friends of Haque.
“Allah may grant them patience to bear this irreparable loss with patience and fortitude. The untimely passing away of Naeemul Haque is a big shock for all of us as he was an ardent supporter of Pakistan-Japan friendly relations.”