Pakistan hockey player dies in Italy shipwreck

STORY: Raza's aim was to reach Italy or Australia and seek asylum there.

Raza was a member of the Shi'ite Muslim Hazara minority, a sect often targeted by Islamist militants, and had opted for asylum because she believed it was easier to gain refugee status after illegally entering these countries than to get a regular visa, Summaya added.

Summaya spoke to Reuters but did not want to show her face on camera for security reasons.

"She decided that she would go abroad, and do whatever was possible to bring him out (of the country) for treatment," she added.

Hasan, aged 3, was born with a disability that left him unable to speak or move unaided, Summaya said. She could not name the disability.

Raza was one of two nationals that Pakistan's foreign ministry said had died in the shipwreck. Another 17 Pakistanis were rescued, while two remain missing, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday (March 2).

The vessel, which authorities believe was carrying up to 200 migrants, sank in rough seas before dawn on Sunday (February 26). Those onboard were mostly from neighboring Afghanistan.