LONDON: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Mian Nawaz Sharif’s wife and former MNA Begum Kulsoom Nawaz passed away in London after a months-long battle with cancer.
The lady, who remained an active political worker till 2017, was battling throat cancer in London’s Harley Street Clinic since June.
The news was confirmed by PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif. “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.
Her condition deteriorated moments before her death following which she was shifted to Intensive Care Unit (ICU). She will be laid to rest at Jati Umra in Lahore however, day and time are yet to be revealed.
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 tonight and her body will be brought back to Pakistan on Friday. She will be buried alongside Mian Sharif, her father-in-law, at Jati Umra.
Kulsoom Nawaz was married to Nawaz Sharif, the three time Prime Minister of Pakistan, in April 1971. She is survived by her husband and four children, Hassan, Hussain, Maryam and Asma.
During her political career she led protests against former military dictator Pervez Musharraf during her husband’s exile and also won the NA-120 by-elections against PTI’s Yasmeen Rashid after her husband was declared disqualified by Supreme Court to hold public office.
Born into a Kashmiri family in Lahore, Kulsoom Nawaz attended Islamia College and graduated from the Forman Christian College in Lahore. She received a master’s degree in Urdu from the University of the Punjab in 1970.
Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) on Tuesday suspended all political activities for three days after death of Kulsoom Nawaz in London.
PML-N leader Kh Nazir termed former first lady 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. Nazir urged to grant Nawaz Sharif at least one-week parole.
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.
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa condoled the demise with the Sharif family, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.
“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.
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.
Jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd.) Safdar will be granted parole for the funeral and burial of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.
Quoting Interior Ministry sources, a private television channel said that the three will be granted parole from the time of Begum Kulsoom’s funeral prayers till her burial, the sources said. A request is necessary for parole to be granted, sources add. NNI