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Sharif, daughter granted parole; reach Lahore to attend Kulsoom’s funeral 

Lahore, September 12

Pakistan’s jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar reached here early Wednesday from Rawalpindi after they were released from Adiala Jail on a 12-hour parole to attend the funeral of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.

Kulsoom, the wife of Sharif, died Tuesday in London after a long battle with cancer. She was 68. Her body will be brought back here and buried in the Jati Umra Lahore residence of the Sharif family.

Sharif and two others were transported to Jati Umra in a special plane from Nur Khan Airbase Rawalpindi in the early hours of Wednesday after the Punjab government’s home department issued their release order for a 12-hour parole. The trio arrived in Lahore at 3.15 am Wednesday. 

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz spokesperson Maryam Aurangzeb told PTI  that Shahbaz Sharif, had filed an application with the Punjab government requesting the release of his elder brother Nawaz, niece Maryam and Safdar for five days on parole so that they could attend the last rituals of Kulsoom who died of cancer in London.

The Punjab government did not entertain Shahbaz’s request for five days and only granted their release for 12 hours, she said.

“We are hopeful that the government will extend the parole till the funeral of Begum Kulsoom to be held on Friday in Lahore,” Aurangzeb said, adding Shahbaz will leave for London on Wednesday to bring Kulsoom’s body back.

A senior official of the Punjab government also confirmed to PTI that the parole period would be extended till the last rituals of Kulsoom are performed in Lahore.

“Since Kulsoom’ body is scheduled to arrive here on Friday there is no point of not extending the parole period. The government has allowed Mr Sharif to attend the funeral prayer of his wife purely on humanitarian grounds,” the official said.

According to a notification of the home department, “In pursuance of rule 545-B of Pakistan Prison Rules 1978, permission granted to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar, confined at central prison Rawalpindi, to attend the funeral prayer of Kulsoom Nawaz. The duration of permission granted shall not exceed 12 hours. Police will be responsible for their security and safety. They will not leave the place (Jati Umra) specified in the permission order”.

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had ordered to facilitate the Sharif family regarding the bringing back of body of Kulsoom and matters related to their parole.

Heavy contingent of police has been deployed at the Jati Umra to provide security to the Sharif family.

Kulsoom, who had been battling with lymphoma (throat cancer) for over a year, breathed her last at the London’s Harley Street Clinic.

“Begum Kulsoom’s condition deteriorated early in the morning on Tuesday. Doctors tried their best but couldn’t save her life,” Aurangzeb said.

To a question whether her sons – Hasan and Hussain – would return to Lahore to attend her funeral prayer, she said, “No decision has been taken as yet”.

It is likely that both sons may not return to Pakistan as they have been declared absconders by an accountability court in the off-shore properties case.

The former first lady was diagnosed with lymphoma (throat) cancer in August last and had been in London since, where she underwent multiple surgeries and at least five chemotherapy sessions.

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