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Three-time First Lady who took on General Musharraf’s regime 

Islamabad, September 11

Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of jailed ex-premier Nawaz Sharif, passed away in a London hospital on Tuesday after protracted illness due to throat cancer. She was 68. Married to the former premier Nawaz Sharif in 1971, the couple has four children – Maryam Nawaz, Hassan, Hussain and Asma.

Begum Kulssom was diagnosed with cancer in August 2017, and underwent several surgical procedures since then. Since June, she was on ventilator, for most of the time in semi-conscious condition. She suffered a second heart attack on Monday and could not survive. 

Her body is expected to be flown from London to Lahore on Thursday-Friday to be buried at the family’s Raiwind mansion. For this, opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif, who met the jailed former premier Nawaz Sharif at the Adiyala Jail, a few hours after the news broke, will fly to London to bring back the deceased’s body.  

The Imran Khan-led government on Tuesday aired signals that jailed former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, and son-in- law could be allowed an extended parole from Rawalpindi’s Adiyala Jail to attend the last rituals in Lahore.

 The three-time first lady of the country stood up and launched a political struggle against  former military dictator Gen Musharraf’s regime after the 1999 coup until her family was sent on an exile of 10 years, a year later. But since Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif’s comeback in December 2007, she never took an active part in politics. In 2017, after the disqualification of her husband by the Supreme Court in Panama case, she fought a by-elections from Lahore on his vacant seat in absentia, and won. But could not take oath in the national legislature due to severe cancer-related illness. Her campaign was run by her daughter Maryam Nawaz who has since been tipped as the political successor of Nawaz Sharif as both, father-daughter, addressed nation-wide huge public gatherings since the former premier’s disqualification on July 27, 2017.

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