Former president of the Associated Press of Pakistan Zafar Rasheed Bhatti, a senior journalist and employee union, died of the coronavirus on Monday, a news release from the news organization said.
Bhatti had joined APP in 1984 before working at various news organizations including Nawa-i-Waqt and Pakistan Press International, He said.
According to his friends and colleagues, he was a vocal personality who defended the rights of media workers. Bhatti was also involved with the Rawalpindi and Islamabad press clubs and the journalists' union. In his later years, he was an active member of Tableeghi Jamaat, he added.
According to the statement, Bhatti is believed to have contracted the virus during a visit to Tableegh. He added that he had become ill a month ago and was admitted to a quarantine center in Rawalpindi when he began to show symptoms.
Speaking to Dawn.com, APP News director Shafiq Qureshi said Bhatti had tested positive for the virus and received treatment at the Rawalpindi Institute of Urology for 10 to 12 days.
PML-N spokesman Marriyum Aurangzeb expressed his condolences on the occasion, saying Bhatti was an "experienced journalist and a sympathetic trade unionist."
Due to exposure to patients and treatment facilities and the lack of protective equipment, journalists are at risk of becoming infected.
The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Firdous Ashiq Awan, has repeatedly stated that personal protective equipment will be provided to hit journalists and the media, but it is unclear whether the government has followed through on the promise.
On Saturday, two media outlets, including a reporter and a cameraman for Azad Jammu and Kashmir, tested positive.