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.
Sad to learn of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz's death. She was a courageous woman of great dignity and confronted her disease with fortitude. My condolences and prayers go to the Sharif family.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) September 11, 2018
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.