KARACHI: Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, a seasoned politician of Balochistan and son of illustrious leader Mir Ghaus Bux Bizenjo, passed away at a private hospital here on Thursday, according to friends and leaders of his party. He was 62.

Mir Hasil, chief of the National Party (NP), was suffering from lung cancer. He was diagnosed with the disease in January 2019 and undergoing chemotherapy and had also visited the United States for treatment. He was admitted for chemotherapy to the Karachi hospital on Wednesday morning but his health deteriorated and he breathed his last on Thursday.

He is survived by a son and a daughter. His funeral prayer would be held in his native town of Nal in Khuzdar district, Balochistan, on Friday at 5pm and he would be laid to rest adjacent to the grave of his father. His coffin would be taken to Nal from Karachi on Friday morning by road, according to NP leaders.

Dr Abdul Malik, a former chief minister of Balochistan and NP leader, said Mir Hasil was born in Nal in 1958. He was active in student politics from the platform of the Baloch Students Organisation (BSO). In the 1970s, Baloch leaders came to power and Sardar Attaullah Mengal became chief minister of Balochistan. Later, when his government was dismissed and Mir Ghaus Bux Bizenjo was arrested along with other Baloch leaders in what is known as the Hyderabad conspiracy case, Mir Hasil started his political struggle from the platform of the BSO. He also remained in the Democratic Students Federation. He was already active in student politics when he got admission to Karachi University in the 1980s from where he did his MA in philosophy.

During the martial law regime of Gen Ziaul Haq, Mir Hasil struggled for restoration of democracy from the platform of the MRD and continued his democratic struggle for which he suffered imprisonment several times, recalled Dr Malik.

Mir Hasil was elected to the National Assembly in 1990 and again in 1997. When the Pakistan National Party and the Baloch National Movement were merged in 2013, Mir Hasil was elected secretary general of the new party, NP. Later, he was elected president of the party. He became a senator in 2009, was re-elected in 2013 and till his death remained a member of the upper house of parliament.

Last year, Mir Hasil was opposition’s candidate for the election of Senate chairman once the no-confidence motion was moved. However, and mysteriously, a number of opposition members voted in favour of the incumbent Sadiq Sanjrani, which Mr Hasil reportedly said was engineered to defeat him even when the opposition parties had a majority.

Mir Hasil struggled for a truly federal and democratic Pakistan where all nations could enjoy equal rights and people had freedoms, Dr Malik said. During his whole life, Mir Hasil remained committed to democracy and human rights.

Former senator Afrasiab Khattak said that as a senator, Mir Hasil played an important role in the passage of 18th Amendment. He said Mir Hasil was a seasoned politician who strove for peace, democracy and justice with consistency.

Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed sorrow over Mir Hasil’s death and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family.

Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa also expressed grief over Mir Hasil’s demise and extended heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and friends. “May Allah bless the departed soul in eternal peace,” the army chief prayed.