ISLAMABAD - The Awami Workers Party (AWP) senior leader Chaudhry Naeem Shakir Advocate has passed away in the US due to cardiac arrest. He was 73.

Shakir was suffering from prostate cancer and cardiac problem. He had undergone a surgery for prostate cancer last year and had to visit the US for treatment. The deceased leaves behind a wife, son, daughter and a large number of friends to mourn his death.

AWP leadership expressed their grief and sorrow over the demise of Naeem and termed it a colossal loss to the party, the working class and the marginalised communities for whom he fought throughout his life.

In his condolence message AWP founding President Abid Hassan Minto said, Shakir was a conscious and committed progressive politician.

“Naeem withstood firm against all odds and pressures from the orthodox religious clergy and influential ruling class and struggled for the rights of the poor and marginalised people on legal and political fronts,” Minto said.

Shakir had dedicated his life for the working class politics and contributed immensely towards the efforts in uniting the scattered Left and progressive parties since 1996.

He struggled for establishing an egalitarian society, social justice and fundamental rights of all irrespective of faith, ethnicity and culture, Minto said.

AWP President Fanoos Gujjar also termed Chaudhry Naeem’s death a great loss.

Shakir started his political life from National Awami Party in 1960s. He was the founding member of Socialist Party of Pakistan, founded on March 23, 1971. He was also associated with the Pakistan Trade Union Federation.

As a Supreme Court lawyer, he served particularly for the rights of minorities and workers.

Shakir was also the editor of the oldest socialist monthly magazine “Awami Jamhuriat”, being published for last 49 years.