Bhadarwah/Jammu, Oct 12 (PTI) Congress leader and former minister Mohammad Sharief Niaz died in Jammu on Monday after prolonged illness. He was 75.
Niaz, a cousin brother of Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, was suffering from various ailments and undergoing treatment at the Government Medical College, Jammu, where he breathed his last, a party spokesperson said.
He had recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus and later recovered, family sources said, adding that his last rites would be performed at his ancestral home in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district on Tuesday.
Niaz was not well for the past month and on oxygen support for the last few days, Congress spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said.
He was elected MLA for the first time in 1987 and was a minister of state in the National Conference-Congress government.
A three-time MLA, Niaz was also power minister during the PDP-Congress government between 2002-2005 and vacated his assembly seat for the then chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in 2006 and was inducted into the Upper House later.
He was again elected to the assembly in the by-election in 2009 after the seat was vacated by Azad.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, state Congress president G A Mir and other leaders expressed condolences over Niaz's demise.
The state Congress said a big vacuum had been created in the party by his departure, which would be hard to fill.
'His death is a great loss to the party and people of Jammu and Kashmir,' it said.
Congress state vice president G M Saroori said Niaz would always be remembered for his tireless contribution in ameliorating the lot of peasants, labour fraternity, weaker sections and downtrodden people of Jammu and Kashmir and the Chenab Valley belt in particular. PTI CORR TAS AB HMB