Monday March 27, 2023

Last rights of Pakistan hockey player Shahida Raza take place in Quetta

Raza enlisted human smugglers to get her out of Pakistan to assist family, amdist worsening economic crisis

By Sports Desk
March 17, 2023
Last rights of Pakistan hockey player Shahida Raza take place in Quetta

The funeral and burial of national hockey player Shahida Raza — who passed in a migrant shipwreck off Italy’s coast in February — took place in Quetta on Friday after her body was repatriated from Italy.

Known as Chintu in her circles, the player represented Pakistan in hockey at the international level. She also played football domestically.

In a bid to secure a better future for her disabled son, Raza enlisted human smugglers to get her out of Pakistan. She passed away when the boat carrying her — and scores of others — sank off Italy’s coast last month.

Summaya Kainat — Raza's friend and former teammate — the 27-year-old player had left her home with the aim of eventually reaching Italy or Australia and seeking asylum there.

Kainat said that Raza was the sole breadwinner of her family, and had been planning to take her son, Hasan, with her as soon as she got a job.

Three-year-old Hasan was born with a disability that left him unable to speak or move unaided, Kainat added.

Shahida started playing hockey in the national league in 2007 and for years was sponsored by the local departments, Kainat and Balochistan government officials said.

When the sponsorship ended, Kainat said, Shahida was left jobless in a country suffering its worst economic crisis in decades.

Earlier, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Vice President Shehla Raza and PH Women Wing Secretary Tanzila Amir Cheema and other people associated with hockey expressed sorrow over her death.

"President of Pakistan Hockey Federation Brigadier R. Khalid Sajjad Khokhar, Secretary General Haider Hussain, Chairperson Women's Hockey Wing Syeda Shehla Raza, GM Women's Wing Tanzeela Amir Cheema has expressed condolences to the family of former international women's hockey player Shahida Raza (Chintu), who died due to an accident and prayed for her forgiveness," the PFF said in a press release.

At least 59 migrants, including Pakistanis, died after their overloaded boat sank early in stormy seas off Italy’s southern Calabria region, officials said.

In connection with the incident, two Pakistanis and one Turk were arrested on suspicion of trafficking up to 200 migrants aboard, said the local police.