LONDON – Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, the wife of former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif, on Tuesday passed away at London’s Harley Street Clinic after a prolonged battle with cancer.
The news was confirmed by PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif. Kulsoom Nawaz is survived by her husband and four children, Hassan, Hussain, Maryam and Asma.
“My sister-in-law and wife of Mian Nawaz Sharif, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz is no more. May her soul rest in peace,” Shehbaz Sharif said in a twitter announcement.
“Nawaz Sharif had always consulted Kulsoom Nawaz during his tough hours. She [Kulsoom Nawaz] challenged dictatorship courageously,” stated Shehbaz while adding at the same time late Kulsoom’s affiliation with democracy was proven and time-tested.
Shehbaz added nation will always remember services of Kulsoom Nawaz for democracy.
Unseen video of Nawaz engaging with Kulsoom before returning to Pakistan pic.twitter.com/WsGwnNgjIx
— Syed Talat Hussain (@TalatHussain12) September 11, 2018
Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz, who are serving sentence in Adiala Jail, have also been informed about the demise of Begum Kulsoom. The former first lady was diagnosed with lymphoma (throat cancer) in August 2017 after which, she was shifted to London’s Harley Street Clinic for treatment.
Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz had flown to London several times to inquire about the health of Kulsoom Nawaz. Family sources told that Begum Kulsoom had inquired about Nawaz and Maryam last night but was not informed about their conviction.
Her funeral prayers will be offered at Regent’s Park in London Thursday and her body will be brought back to Pakistan via a PIA flight after fulfilling legal obligations Friday morning.
A second funeral prayer will be offered after Friday prayer after which Kulsoom will be buried alongside her father-in-law, Mian Sharif, at Jati Umra. Hassan and Hussain Nawaz won’t be in Lahore to attend the funeral prayers owing to legal complications, according to family sources.
The accountability court had declared former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s children Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz as absconders after both failed to appear in the court despite non-bailable arrest warrants issued against them.
Hassan and Hussain, who are facing corruption cases in Pakistan, are residing in London.
PM Khan expresses sorrow, directs legal assistance
Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi expressed sorrow over the demise of Kulsoom Nawaz. As per details garnered, Imran termed late Kulsoom Nawaz a courageous woman.
He also directed Pakistan’s High Commissioner in London to provide every possible legal assistance to relatives of the Kulsoom Nawaz.
President Arif Alvi said: “I express my sincere regrets on the sad demise of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz. My condolences to the Sharif family on this loss. May her soul rest in peace.”
The Pakistani High Commission in London said it had received orders to shift the dead body. Sources in London said the staff arrived at Harley Street Clinic to assist the Sharif family. An official of the Pakistan High Commission had been appointed in this regard.
Army chief condoles death
“COAS expresses his grief and heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family on sad demise of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz. ‘May Allah bless the departed soul eternal peace at Heaven – Ameen,’” said the statement.
Bilawal, Zardari express grief
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and former president Asif Ali Zardari expressed deep grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.
In their condolence message, the PPP chairman and party co-chairman said Begum Kulsoom Nawaz was a brave woman who fought for democracy during Musharraf regime.
They offered condolence and expressed sympathies with the members of bereaved family and prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in eternal peace and grant courage and fortitude to the bereaved family members to bear this irreparable loss.
No bail petition filed by Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar
The Punjab Home Department said Nawaz Sharif, his daugher Maryam and son-in-law Safdar had not filed any bail petition to attend the funeral prayers of Kulsoom Nawaz.
The three will be granted bail if they file petition, it said.
PML-N suspends political activities for three days
The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) party suspended all political activities for three days after the death of Kulsoom Nawaz in London.
PML-N leader Kh Nazir termed Kulsoom a brave woman and stated she played vital role in reshaping the political landscape of the country.
Nazir added dead body of Kulsoom Nawaz will be shifted to Pakistan in two to three days. Shehbaz Sharif will inform party’s leadership after meeting with Nawaz Sharif, he added.
Nazir stated Nawaz should be granted parole for at least one week.
Kulsoom was born in 1950 in Lahore to a Kashmiri family. She attended Islamia College and graduated from Forman Christian College in Lahore. She also received a Master’s degree in Urdu from the University of the Punjab in 1970.
She married Nawaz Sharif in 1971, and served as the president of the PML-N from 1999 to 2002.
Kulsoom had remained the first lady of Pakistan for three non-consecutive terms from 1990-1993, 1997-1999 and 2013-2017.
After the disqualification of Sharif from Supreme Court last year, Kulsoom was elected to Lahore’s NA-120 constituency in a by-poll against Dr Yasmin Rashid of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) among other candidates. However; she left for United Kingdom soon and was unable to return due to her illness.
Her election campaign was run by her daughter, Maryam Nawaz.
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