Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) chairperson Mohammad Ali Shah, who spent his life fighting for the rights of fishermen, passed following Covid-related complications. He was 65.
According to Shah’s family, he had been suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and had tested positive for Covid-19 a few weeks ago.
They added that the activist had recovered from the infectious disease, but passed away owing to a chest problem.”His last Covid test came negative, but his condition deteriorated because of his chest problem and doctors put him on a ventilator a few days ago,” Yasmin Shah, the deceased activist’s daughter.
Soon after the news of Shah’s death, messages poured in on social media as people from different sections of the society expressed their grief on his passing.
Meanwhile, the activist’s family said he would be laid to rest in his family graveyard in Ibrahim Hyderi, one of the major settlements of fishermen in Karachi.
Shah was born in Karachi in 1956 and was known to champion the rights of fishermen
He advocated their case at national and international forums, which also led him to serve as the chairman of the Asia region of World Forum of Fisher People (WWFP), a global forum for fishermen.
His struggle for detained fishermen, protection of mangroves, the sustainable livelihood of fisherfolk and struggle for the revival of the Indus Delta were matchless.
Shah was the man who took the initiative to celebrate World Fisheries Day every year on November 21 and advocated against the occupation of water bodies.
“It was his struggle which compelled the Sindh government to abolish the contract system in fisheries. After the contract system came to an end, the fishermen became independent to catch fish from water bodies,” Mustafa Mirani, one of his close aides said.
The news has brought grief in the coastal belt of Sindh and Balochistan where the fishermen and other traders closed their businesses to mourn the activist’s demise.