Nation special report
LONDON: Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, spouse of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif passed away here on Tuesday after serious and critical illness. She fought a long battle with cancer but ultimately defeated by this diabolic decease. She is survived by her husband and four children, Hassan, Hussain, Maryam and Asma.
Prominent political figures including Hussain Nawaz, Hassan Nawaz, Shehbaz Sharif, Ishaq Dar and former interior minister Ch. Nisar attended the last rituals of former first lady. On the other hand, Nawaz Sharif is overseeing arrangements for Kulsoom Nawaz’s funeral in Lahore.
A PIA flight carrying the casket flew from Heathrow airport at 10pm. It was scheduled to land at Lahore on Friday at 6am after which a second funeral prayer will be held at Jati Umra in the evening. Pakistan High Commission in London has issued NOC in this regard. Kulsoom will be laid to rest on the same day beside the grave of her father-in-law Mian Sharif at Jati Umra.
Begum Kulsoom Nawaz passed away at London’s Harley Street Clinic on Tuesday after a prolonged battle with cancer. 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. Kulsoom had remained the first lady of Pakistan for three non-consecutive terms from 1990-1993, 1997-1999 and 2013-2017.
The three-time former first lady was diagnosed with early-stage lymphoma in August last year and had been in London since, where she underwent multiple surgeries and at least five chemotherapy sessions.
She had suffered a cardiac arrest and was placed on a ventilator in June this year. Her family reported a slight improvement in her condition on July 12, a day before Nawaz and Maryam were set to return to Pakistan after an accountability court sentenced them to jail in the Avenfield corruption reference.
Begum Kulsoom Nawaz was elected to Lahore’s NA-120 constituency in a by-poll after her husband was disqualified from the seat by the Supreme Court last year, but left for the United Kingdom before she could begin campaigning for the by-poll.
In her absence, Maryam ran her campaign instead. Due to her illness, Begum Kulsoom was unable to return and formally take oath for the seat.
Born in 1950 in Lahore to a Kashmiri family, Begum Kulsoom attended Islamia College and graduated from the Forman Christian College in Lahore. She received a Master’s degree in Urdu from Punjab University in 1970.
She married Nawaz Sharif in 1971, and served as the president of the PML-N from 1999 to 2002, after her husband’s government was dismissed by former president Pervez Musharraf, and nearly all the Sharif family’s men were jailed.
Both mother and daughter were also placed under house arrest following Nawaz’s dismissal by Musharraf. Begum Kulsoom led defiant, lonely protests against the Musharraf regime to get her husband freed from prison.
Over the last 30 years, she had stood by her husband and advised him on various government affairs. Party leaders have also said that she occasionally wrote many of Nawaz’s speeches.
In a 2012 interview with Newsweek, Maryam had said her mother “dauntlessly challenged the usurper when a lot of men backed out… She’s contributed famously to my father’s life and to democracy in Pakistan.”
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday visited Sharif Medical City in Jati Umra and reviewed the funeral preparations of her wife Begum Kulsoom. The PML-N supremo termed the arrangements satisfactory and returned to his residence in Jati Umra. Nawaz Sharif son-in-law Capt (Retd) Muhammad Safdar, Junaid Safdar, Salman Shahbaz were also present on the occasion. On this occasion number of persons met with former Prime Minister offered condolence over the death of Begum Kulsoom with him.
3-day extension in parole
Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar on Wednesday permitted a three-day extension in the parole of former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (Retd) Muhammad Safdar to attend the last rituals of late Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.
Chief minister’s spokesperson Rafiullah told APP that the chief minister had given his assent for extension in the parole on a summary moved by the Home Department in the wake of special circumstances. “A summary was moved by the Home Department for three days extension in the parole of the Sharif family members, which has been duly approved by the chief minister,” he said. The Home Department would issue a notification in that regard, he added.
It may be added that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif had requested the Punjab Home Secretary for a 5-day parole of his imprisoned family members. The Home Secretary allowed 12-hour parole under the Pakistan Prisons Rules 1978. The Home Department, however, on Wednesday put up the summary to the chief minister for three-day extension in the parole, which was duly approved.