KARACHI: Shahida Raza, who was a hockey player for the Pakistan women’s team, was among the victims of the migrant boat accident in Italy on Sunday.
Shahida, also known as Chintu in her circles, represented Pakistan in hockey at international level. She also played football domestically.
The sources closer to her family said that the athlete — who hailed from Quetta — was going through a difficult phase in her life as a single mother after getting divorce.
And in order to secure a better future, Shahida chose the path of migrating to Europe illegally.
Apart from hockey, she also represented Pakistan in football.
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 on Tuesday.
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.
Lieutenant Colonel Alberto Lippolis said two Pakistani nationals and a Turkish man had sailed the boat from Turkey to Italy despite the terrible weather and were identified by survivors as “the main culprits of the tragedy”.
“According to initial investigations, they allegedly asked the migrants for about 8,000 euros ($8,485) each for the deadly journey,” said Lippolis, commander of a finance police team in the region of Calabria. “All three have been arrested.”
One of the Pakistanis was a minor, a judicial source said, adding that police were looking for a fourth suspect, who is Turkish.