Party leaders and their friends said that PPP Senator Dr Sikander Mandharo died in the US on Saturday after prolonged illness. He was 80 years old.
His personal secretary Abdul Ghani Gopang told don.com Senator Mandharo was diagnosed with kidney cancer in October last year. He was initially admitted to the Aga Khan University Hospital. He was taken to California in December for further treatment. He breathed his last there.
The secretary said the body of the senator would be brought to Pakistan on Tuesday and buried in his native village Matro Mandharo near Badin.
Gopang shared that Dr Mandharo and his wife Khaleda had joined the PPP during the era of former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, when they were studying at Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro.
The secretary said that Dr. Mandharo graduated in 1968 and started a clinic in Badin where Khaleda also worked as a gynecologist. The couple had practiced medicine for 45 years.
Gopang recalled that after General Ziaul Haq imposed martial law in the country, Dr. Mandharo went into ‘self-exile’. He initially lived in the US and later moved to Saudi Arabia, eventually returning to Pakistan in the late 1980s.
Gopang said that Dr. Mandharo was repeatedly elected as MPA in all general elections since 1988 and served as minister in PPP governments, including health minister.
He was elected as a senator for a Technocrat seat in 2018 and was Nominated As the parliamentary leader of the PPP in the Senate.
The Secretary said that Dr. Mandharo had established a hospital at Badin in 2013 as his last wish, adding that it is now being run under an agreement of Dr. Abdul Bari of Indus Hospital.
Mandharo is survived by wife, a daughter Umaima and a son Zakaria, who lives in America.
President Dr. Arif Alvi expressed condolences to the family of Dr. Mandharo and offered prayers for the deceased Senator.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said he was shocked by the death of the senator. He paid tribute to Dr. Mandharo and called him “the most trusted and faithful representative of the people of Badin”.
Bilawal tweeted, “His loyalty to PPP lasted for three generations… He always spoke for party workers, worked for the poor and fought for democracy.”
Senate President Sadiq Sanjrani said he was deeply saddened and added that Dr Mandharo’s political, parliamentary and social services will always be remembered.
Senate Deputy Speaker Mirza Mohammad Afridi, Leader of the House Azam Nazir Tarar and Leader of the Opposition Shahzad Wasim also expressed condolences.
“Deeply devastated to share the sad news that Dr. Sikandar Mandharo, a veteran politician, longtime friend and Senate colleague, has passed away after fighting a long battle with cancer. His unwavering gentleness, integrity and political commitment to the PPP Well known… may he rest. peace,” tweeted climate change minister and PPP leader Sherry Rahman.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said he was devastated to hear about the passing of Dr Mandharo, whom he gave the “sole honour” of working with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, Asif Zardari and Bilawal.
Shah said, “I had known Dr. Mandharo for 40 years, and he served in my father and then in my provincial cabinet. Dr. Mandharo was a close friend and colleague of mine. I am saddened to lose someone I love. Loved it,” Shah said. Provided for both counseling and assistance.