Kulsoom Nawaz, 68, dies in London

Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the Pakistani High Commission in London to assist the bereaved family and provide all necessary facilities to the heirs of the deceased. (AFP/File)
Updated 11 September 2018
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Kulsoom Nawaz, 68, dies in London

  • Ex-PM Nawaz Sharif’s wife was undergoing cancer treatment in the UK
  • PM Khan directs officials to provide all assistance to deceased’s family in London

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s former first lady, Kulsoom Nawaz, died at the Harley Street Clinic in London, on Tuesday, succumbing to a long battle with cancer.
Three times ex-premier Nawaz Sharif’s wife, 68-year-old Kulsoom was on life support for several weeks before she finally slipped into a coma in June this year following a cardiac arrest. 
She was diagnosed with lymphoma in August 2017.
Shahbaz Sharif, the former chief minister of Punjab and Nawaz’s younger brother, confirmed the news in a tweet.
Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed deep grief at the turn of events, directing the Pakistan High Commission in London to assist the bereaved family with all help required.

Chief of Army Staff, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, also expressed his heartfelt condolences to the Sharif family. In comments, tweeted by Military Spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, Bajwa said: “May Allah bless the departed soul with eternal peace at Heaven — Amen”.
Nawaz and his daughter Maryam Nawaz are currently lodged in Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail for money laundering and were informed by family members about Kulsoom’s death.
On July 10, the father-daughter duo was sentenced to 10 and seven years in prison, respectively, and arrested a week later after their return to Pakistan from the UK.
Their counsel has submitted a request for them to be allowed to attend the final rituals in Lahore, on humanitarian grounds. Nawaz’s party leadership said it hopes that they will be granted bail.
During her illness, Kulsoom’s two sons, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, took care of her in London. Since both are wanted by authorities, it is unlikely they will return to Pakistan to attend the funeral. 
Kulsoom married Nawaz in 1970 and went on to retain the title of the first lady following her husband’s election to the office of prime minister in 1990, 1997, and during his last term from 2013 to 2017.
She was elected as a member of National Assembly from Lahore in September 2017. She contested the election from the seat vacated by her husband after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office in the Panama Papers’s scandal in July 2017.
She is survived by her husband and their four children.


US weighing options on American Daesh sympathizer in Syria

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stands guard on top of a building on February 17, 2019, in the frontline Syrian village of Baghuz. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2019
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US weighing options on American Daesh sympathizer in Syria

  • Neither option would likely pass muster in the cases of US citizens, who enjoy strong legal protections under the Constitution

WASHINGTON: The United States said Tuesday it wanted to ensure foreign terrorists remain off the battlefield as it weighed options on an American detained in Syria who says she wants to return home.
The United States has urged European powers to take back hundreds of their citizens who fought with the Daesh group in Syria, but acknowledged the situation was complex in the rare case of an American terrorist.
Hoda Muthana, a 24-year-old from Alabama who became a prominent online agitator for the extremists, said in an interview published Sunday with The Guardian that she had been brainwashed online and “deeply regrets” joining the movement.
While declining to discuss Muthana’s case specifically, State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said that the status of US citizens detained in Syria “is by definition extremely complicated.”
“We’re looking into these cases to better understand the details,” he told reporters.
Palladino said that the United States generally did not see a different solution between what to do with US fighters and with foreigners, saying the fighters pose “a global threat.”
“Repatriating these foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin, ensuring that they are prosecuted and detained — that’s the best solution, preventing them from returning to the battlefield,” he said.
The situation of foreign terrorists detained by US-allied Kurdish forces has taken a new urgency as President Donald Trump plans to withdraw US troops from Syria.
The Syrian Democratic Forces say they may have to refocus on fighting Turkey, which has vowed to crush Kurdish fighters it links to separatists at home.
Trump has contemplated reopening the US military base at Guantanamo Bay to take in new foreign inmates, while Britain on Tuesday revoked the citizenship of a female terrorsist who wanted to return home with her newborn baby.
Neither option would likely pass muster in the cases of US citizens, who enjoy strong legal protections under the Constitution.
Muthana, who was married three times to terrorists and has a son with one of her husbands, fled her family in 2014 to join the Daesh group in Syria, where she took to Twitter to urge attacks on fellow Americans.
In the interview with The Guardian, Muthana said that she was “really young and ignorant” when she joined Daesh and has since renounced radicalism.
“I believe that America gives second chances. I want to return and I’ll never come back to the Middle East,” she told the newspaper.
Hassan Shilby, a lawyer for Muthana, told ABC television’s “Good Morning America” that the young woman had been “brainwashed and manipulated” and is “absolutely disgusted” by the person she became.