KARACHI: The woman who was known as the mother of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was laid to rest on Sunday among the presence of family members, friends, party activists and admirers.
Respected among peers and party members, Zahra Shahid Hussain was the one who patched things up when activists would squabble among themselves. She was also the one who would assist the female workers of the party when they had difficulty managing home and politics.
On May 19, the day of the re-elections, the senior leader of PTI had planned to show support for her party by visiting polling stations. But the 69-year-old woman could not follow through with her plans as she was shot dead hours before the re-election were supposed to start. Instead, she was laid to rest the Gizri graveyard in Phase IV on Sunday.
Party activists hold a candlelight vigil outside Do Talwar. PHOTO: ATHER KHAN/EXPRESS
PT Sindh’s senior vice-president was shot dead on May 18 outside her house, but the police have yet to ascertain if the killing was targeted or an attempted robbery gone wrong.
Zahra was among PTI’s founding members and was part of the Shaukat Khanum Board. She was known to be one of the driving forces behind the fund-raising for the cancer hospital.
Misbah Khalid, a PTI worker, said that they had lost an inspiriting personality. “I have known her since 2009. She was the reason why so many women joined the party. She was the one who kept everyone together.”
Along with being part of the party’s planning and decision making process, she was also active in campaigning. Zahra had actively participated in the recent protests and was present at Friday’s protest on Teen Talwar, said the president of the party’s Insaf professional Forum, Dr Sajjad. Zahra who used to once teach international relations at the Karachi University was popular among youngsters, especially her students. Hammad, who was clearly disturbed by her death, said that she was an amazing teacher.
Zahra Shahid Hussain
Adviser to home affairs, Sharfuddin memon, who is friends with Zahra’s brother, said, “She was the kind of lady who could easily reach to youngsters and mingle with them. She was very friendly.”
The late leader had also acted in an advertisement for a mobile company some years ago. “It was a funny commercial where everyone was stuck in the lift and Zahra aunty was supposed to act as if she was claustrophobic,” said Jami who had made the advertisement. Calling her a face of hope, Jami said that she was a dynamic and lively person.
Zahra’s funeral prayers were held at the Sultan Masjid in Khayaban-e-Hafiz. But the mourning procession also held feelings of anger along with sadness. “Those who killed her wanted to sabotage the elections,” said Nawab Khan Swati who had come with dozens of activists. “Arif Alvi is also on the hit list. Though it too early to say who killed Zahra, everyone knows who is behind such murders and violence.”
At Zahra’s house in Phase IV, her daughter Najo tried her best to explain what had happened. “I was upstairs when I heard firing and the driver shouting.” A surgeon by profession, Najo said that her mother passed away in front of her. “She died in my arms in less than three minutes,” she said while controlling her tears. Driver Ghulam Rasool who was the only eyewitness pointed towards the bullet mark inside the house. He was driving Zahra back from a club where she had gone for swimming. “It is very shocking. I can’t believe this happened,” he said while standing outside the house which had been marked as a crime scene by the police.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2013.