According to her sister, Shahida Raza, a Pakistani professional hockey player who perished when the boat she was on capsized off the coast of Italy on Sunday, had been trying to get to Italy to bring her three-year-old kid for medical attention.
The ship had departed from Turkey four days prior, according to Saadia Raza, and her older sister called to say she was going to touch down in Italy.
Saadia, who is calling us from her home in Quetta, Pakistan’s southwest, said that the woman was thanking God that she was almost there. “She admitted that she was worried that something might have happened as she was crossing the sea. She said she couldn’t believe it and that when she got there she would contact her son and take him to get help.”
The call then ended. She was out of their reach once more.
When Shahida perished in the shipwreck off the coast of Italy, she was 27 years old. On board were people seeking to enter Europe illegally from Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, and Iran. Almost 60 persons are reported to have perished from the wooden boat, which was believed to be carrying about 200 passengers.
According to her family, Shahida had a very specific reason for undertaking the perilous voyage.
“Her three-year-old son was the one and only reason she took this trip,” Saadia explains. “He is really ill because a fever caused a stroke when he was 40 days old, which injured a portion of his brain. One side of his body, from his head to his feet, is paralyzed, and his brain sustained some degree of damage.”
Saadia claims that after taking her son to many hospitals in Karachi, no treatment was available. Instead, in the hopes that they would be able to provide him with some treatment there, they advised Shahida to take her son abroad. Shahida had been getting more and more frantic.
“She claimed that she was unable to see her son in such a state and that her sole wish was for him to walk like other kids. She didn’t want to see her son hopelessly lying there “Says Saadia.