Three-time Pakistan first lady Kulsoom Nawaz dies: party

136
image_printPrint

ISLAMABAD, Sept 11, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Kulsoom Nawaz, the wife of former
Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif, died of cancer in London on Tuesday as
her husband remains locked up in jail in his home country following his fall
from power.

Nawaz, 68, who was first lady of Pakistan three times, was diagnosed with
lymphoma in August last year and had been receiving treatment at a private
hospital in London for months. “Yes, the death of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz is
confirmed,” Maryam Aurangzeb, a spokesperson of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz
(PML-N), Sharif’s party, told AFP.

Pakistani media reported that she had been put on life support and
ventilator earlier in the day.

Sharif was ousted from the premiership a month before his wife’s diagnosis.

He and the couple’s daughter Maryam Nawaz had left her in London and
returned to Pakistan on July 13 this year in a bid to motivate support for
the PML-N days before a general election.

They were immediately jailed for corruption, with the party losing the July
25 election to Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Sharif had been banned from running, but maintained his control over his
eponymous party, and his return was seen as a failed gamble to save his
political legacy.

Kulsoom Nawaz had been at her husband’s side throughout his decades-long
political career, which saw him become prime minister of Pakistan three times
while facing military coups, prison and exile.

When he was first imprisoned after a military coup in 1999, she took over
leadership of the party and led rallies in the streets.

The newly-elected Khan, a former cricket hero who had campaigned against
the Sharifs for his entire 22-year-long political career, sent his
condolences Tuesday.

“The Pakistan High Commission in the UK has been directed to provide all
possible assistance to facilitate the heirs of Mrs. Kulsoom Nawaz,” his
office said in a statement.

“Mrs. Kulsoom Nawaz was a brave woman,” Khan was quoted as saying in the
statement.

Since his dismissal by the Supreme Court last year Sharif has engaged in
open confrontation with Pakistan’s security establishment, accusing the
military of engineering his fall from power, curbing democratic development
and fostering links with militants.