Five friends, five victims: how Covid-19 tore a hole in one Pakistani community


Loved by their 41 grandchildren, the men died within 17 days of each other. Their loss highlights the virus’s brutal toll on minorities

In photographs together and with their families, the five men smile, or hold their loved ones close. All 50 or older, their friendships ranged over decades, their passions running from philanthropy to cycling, their duties from activism to business. A little over two weeks ago, they were pillars of the Pakistani community in the small pocket of Birmingham in which they all lived, with 41 grandchildren between them. Now they are all dead, victims of coronavirus.

“We will be lost without them,” said Amer Awan, 44, whose 67-year-old father Nazir is among the dead. “They were our backbone – the keepers of our history. It is phenomenal that they have all gone.”

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