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Kulsoom loses battle with cancer
By Tariq Butt September 12, 2018
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ISLAMABAD: Begum Kulsoom, cancer-stricken wife of incarcerated prime minister Nawaz Sharif, passed away in London on Tuesday after protracted illness.

Her body will be brought to Lahore, where she will be buried, after completing the legal formalities.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif confirmed that Kulsoom expired in London.

Kulsoom suddenly went to London last year and was admitted to the Harley Street Clinic London where she was diagnosed with throat cancer.

She was put on ventilator for months, but the machine was removed a few days back. However, on Tuesday morning her health deteriorated but she could not survive.

Prime Minister Imran Khan issued a statement offering condolences, and said the government “as per law” would provide assistance to the Sharif family.

“She was a courageous woman of great dignity and confronted her disease with fortitude,” Imran said on Twitter.

Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Safdar will be granted parole for the funeral and burial of Kulsoom Nawaz, local media reported.

Quoting interior ministry sources, Geo TV said that the three will be granted parole from the time of Kulsoom’s funeral prayers till her burial, the sources said.

When Sharif was out of jail, he frequently travelled to London to spend time with his ailing wife. On July 14, he had gone to Britain for the purpose and stayed with her for almost one month.

In his absence from Pakistan, Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt. (retd) Muhammad Safdar were convicted by an accountability court of Islamabad in the London apartments’ case.

Because of his politics, Sharif returned to Pakistan from Britain on July 13 to offer arrest. He and Maryam were arrested at the Lahore airport the moment they came out of the plane. Since then, he had been in the Adiala jail, Rawalpindi.

During his imprisonment, Sharif had been having brief telephonic conversation with his sons, Hussain and Hassan, who had been with their ailing mother. They had been declared absconder by the accountability court in the London flats case for nonappearance before it.

Fight for democracy

An otherwise politically quiet and inactive Kulsoom made her mark in politics when the second Sharif government was dismissed by Pervez Musharraf on Oct.12, 1999.

Starting on the day of imposition of martial law till the exit of the Sharif family to Saudi Arabia in exile in December 2000, she worked hard in the political arena keeping the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) afloat, intact and vibrant. During this period, she did a lot of political talking every day.

She was then the only leading female member of the family who spearheaded the campaign for the release of her spouse and close kith and kin. Sharif, Shahbaz and Hussain were held incommunicado.

After the promulgation of Musharraf’s rule, Kulsoom was the only force left in the political field to offer stiff resistance to his regime. Other political players had opted for a safe trajectory.

Kulsoom travelled from one city to another, heading the campaign against the military regime. The situation reached to an extent where Musharraf felt that he would not be able to govern peacefully till the time she was in Pakistan.

Before this stint, she was a mere housewife and never participated in politics even slightly. This was her first political activity.

A famous episode that occurred during her political struggle was that authorities had locked her vehicle on a Lahore road when she was preparing to lead an anti-government procession.
 

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