ISLAMABAD .: Former first lady Kulsoom Nawaz breathed her last at a hospital in London on Tuesday, following more than a year-long battle with lymph node cancer. She was 68.
The wife of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was first admitted to the London hospital on August 17 last year. On August 22, the physicians diagnosed her with cancer.
Following successive surgeries and chemotherapy sessions, her condition improved but this did not last long. This summer, Kulsoom was put on ventilator and was reported to be critical for several weeks.
Former premier Sharif and his daughter Maryam, flew to London to attend the ailing Kulsoom. But on July 13, they came back and were immediately arrested at Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore in connection with their conviction by the accountability court in Avenfield Apartments reference.
In recent weeks, Kulsoom’s health was reported to be getting better. A few days ago, her son Hussain Nawaz told the media in London that his mother regained consciousness and briefly opened her eyes for the first time in several weeks.
On Tuesday, Hussain told the journalists that Kulsoom’s condition deteriorated two days back (on Sunday) and was hospitalized since then.
Today is a sad day, my mother has gone to Allah,” he said in a brief conversation with journalists. “It was the order of Allah. It was Allah’s call. The rest are only justifications and excuses (for her departure).”
The death of Kulsoom Nawaz was first confirmed to the media by Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz President Shehbaz Sharif in Lahore. “My sister-in-law and Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s wife Begum Kulsoom Nawaz is no more among us. May Allah forgive her,” Shehbaz said in a statement.
Shehbaz was later quoted in the national media as saying that Sharif family was considering to bring Kulsoom’s body to Lahore for burial.
Kulsoom was born on March 29, 1950. She married to three-time PM Nawaz Sharif on April 2, 1971. The couple had four children — two sons and two daughters. She was the granddaughter of famous wrestler Ghulam Muhammad Bakhsh, commonly known as ‘Gama Pehlwan.’
A housewife, Kulsoom rose to prominence when her husband was put behind the bars in a military coup led by General (retd) Pervez Musharraf on October 12, 1999.
Kulsoom, along with a handful of PML-N party workers and family members, actively faced cases against her husband. She played an active role in keeping her husband’s political party united and led protests against Nawaz’s detention till the Sharif family was sent to Saudi Arabia following a reported deal with Musharraf.
Kulsoom was regarded as a motherly figure in the PML-N and was widely respected by the party’s rank and file. Following her death, the PML-N termed her as ‘Mother of Democracy’ on its social media pages.
After Sharif was disqualified from holding any public office on July 28 last year by the Supreme Court in Panamagate, the PML-N awarded ticket to Kulsoom to contest elections from National Assembly’s seat NA-120 Lahore, vacated by him.
Even though Kulsoom was hospitalised in London and remained absent from the election campaign throughout, she won the election from Sharif family’s home constituency. Her daughter Maryam ran her mother’s election campaign.
Despite winning the election, Kulsoom could not take oath as the National Assembly member as her deteriorating health did not allow her to visit Pakistan. Kulsoom remained MNA-elect without taking oath till the PML-N completed its government’s tenure on May 31 this year.
Condolences pour in for Kulsoom
Following Kulsoom’s death, the top government functionaries including President Arif Alvi, PM Imran Khan, politicians and people from different sections of society offered sympathies to the bereaved family.
Pakistan People’s Party leader Aitzaz Ahsan also offered his sympathies and apologised for his remarks about Kulsoom’s ailment in the past in which he said that Sharif family was using Kulsoom’s ailment as an excuse for political mileage.