—Kulsoom Nawaz, 68, was suffering from lymphoma since Aug last year, and passed away at London’s Harley Street Clinic
—Govt decides to free Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar on parole for 12 hours to attend Kulsoom’s last rites in Lahore on Friday
—Kulsoom’s sons Hassan and Hussain, and ex-finance minister Ishaq Dar unlikely to accompany body to Pakistan
—President, PM, CJP, COAS offer condolences to Sharif family
ISLAMABAD: Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, passed away in London on Tuesday after a months-long battle with cancer. She was 68.
Kulsoom is survived by her husband and four children, Hassan, Hussain, Maryam and Asma.
The announcement of Kulsoom’s demise was made on twitter by Nawaz’s younger brother Shehbaz Sharif.
“My sister-in-law and Nawaz Sharif’s wife Kulsoom Nawaz has passed away,” he tweeted.
میری بھابھی اور میاں نواز شریف صاحب کی اہلیہ بیگم کلثوم نواز اب ہم میں نہیں رہیں، اللہ تعالٰی انکی مغفرت فرمائے۔
ﺇﻧَّﺎﻟِﻠّٰﻪ ﻭﺇﻧَّﺎﺇﻟَﻴْﻪِ ﺭَﺍﺟِﻌُﻮْﻥ
— President PMLN (@president_pmln) September 11, 2018
Shehbaz further said the party and Pakistan’s democratic process are indebted to Begum Kulsoom, adding that “an era has come to an end.”
“She played an exemplary role as a mother, sister, daughter and wife,” he said and added that Kulsoom fought bravely in the most difficult times.
“Her death is a huge loss and I am in shock,” he stated.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said that arrangements were being made to bring her body back to Pakistan for burial in the family home at Jati Umra, Raiwind.
Nawaz Sharif and Maryam were informed about the tragedy by authorities at the Adiala Jail where the two, along with Maryam’s husband Captain (r) Muhammad Safdar, are currently serving their sentences in the Avenfield illegal assets reference.
The government has decided to free Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar on parole so that they can attend the final rites of the former first lady on Friday.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, however, said that the duration of parole will not be three days, as reported earlier, and will only be for eight hours. “The previous law that allowed three days of parole has been changed and only eight hours are allowed now,” he said.
In a late Tuesday night development, Fawad Chaudhry stated that the government had received an application filed by the Sharif family requesting for parole, which was subsequently approved by the government. Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryum Nawaz will be given a 12-hour parole to attend Begum Kulsoom’s last rites, he said.
The information minister said that Kulsoom’s sons Hassan and Hussain will be arrested upon their return to Pakistan, however, they will not be arrested if they obtain pre-arrest bails.
However it is unlikely that Hassan and Hussain are unlikely to accompany their mother’s body to Pakistan as both of them and former finance minister Ishaq Dar, who is also the father-in-law of Nawaz’s younger daughter Asma, have been declared as absconders in corruption cases.
Moreover, Dar’s passports have also been cancelled and he has been put on the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) blacklist.
According to family sources, Kulsoom’s body will be taken to the Regent Park Mosque in London on Thursday where her funeral prayers will be offered in her sons’ presence after which it will be boarded on a PIA flight to Pakistan. PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif will be proceeding to London to bring Kulsoom’s body to Pakistan.
Soon after the announcement of Kulsoom’s demise, Prime Minister Imran Khan offered his condolences and the government’s cooperation “as per law” to help the Sharif family in bringing her body back to Pakistan. On the PM’s instructions, a delegation from the Pakistani High Commission in London visited the Sharif family and offered their help in transportation of the body but they were told that the family would itself make arrangements in this regard.
According to sources close to the family, the Harley Street Clinic will issue a certificate of death or free from infection (FFI) certificate since Begum Kulsoom’s body will be flown out of the United Kingdom.
After receiving the certificates, the Sharif family will register the death in a registrar office in the local Westminster council. The coroner will then issue an out-of-England order after which the body will be taken to Pakistan. The body has been taken to a local mortuary and will be kept there till the coroner issues the certificate, the sources further said.
KULSOOM LOSES BATTLE WITH CANCER:
Begum Kulsoom had been placed on life support at London’s Harley Street Clinic on Monday night as her health began deteriorating.
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 reference.
Begum Kulsoom 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. Her daughter Maryam ran her election campaign in her absence. Due to her illness, Begum Kulsoom was unable to return and formally take oath for the seat.
Begum Kulsoom served as first lady of Pakistan in her husband’s three non-consecutive terms as prime minister from 1990-1993, 1997-1999 and 2013-2017.
Born in 1950 in Lahore to a Kashmiri family, Begum Kulsoom was the granddaughter of renowned wrestler Ghulam Muhammad Bakhsh, known locally as ‘Gaama Pahelwan.’
She 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 a local weekly, 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.”
President Dr Arif Alvi has expressed grief over the passing away of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz. The president prayed for the departed soul to rest in peace and extended his condolences to the bereaved Sharif family.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also expressed deep grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Kulsoom Nawaz. In a statement, he said all facilities will be provided to the family and heirs of Kulsoom as per law. He also directed the Pakistan High Commission in London to assist in the provision of all necessary facilities to the heirs of the deceased.
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has also expressed grief over the death of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz and prayed for the departed soul.
Moreover, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) director-general took to Twitter and said that Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bajwa also expressed grief over the demise of Kulsoom Nawaz.
“COAS expresses his grief and heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family on the sad demise of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz. “May Allah bless the departed soul eternal peace at Heaven-Amen”, COAS,” he tweeted.
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعون
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-Amen”, COAS.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) September 11, 2018