Begum Kulsoom Nawaz: A First Lady of No Ordinary Reigns
Tribute to a woman of exceptional character
Begum Kulsoom Nawaz passed away today at London Harley Street Clinic where she was admitted for the advanced stage of lymphoma treatment. After being diagnosed on 23 August 2017 as a cancer patient, she was moved to London on the recommendation of her oncologist, Dr. Daniel Krell. Despite the numerous chemotherapy sessions and critical surgeries, her throat cancer relapsed earlier this year.
On 15 June 2018, she was put on the ventilator due to her worsening health condition and, today, she departed this world leaving many in tears across the country.
Born to a Kashmiri couple in 1950, she married to Mian Nawaz Sharif in April 1971 after graduating from Forman Christian College with a Master degree in Literature.
She was the granddaughter of the world-famous wrestler, Ghulam Mohammad Baksh (22 May 1878 – 23 May 1960), also famous by the ring name the Great Gama of all times (Rustam-e-Zaman).
Begum Nawaz was installed in the Prime Minister’s office thrice as the First Lady of Pakistan; for the first time in November 1990 – 18 July 1993, for the second time on 17 February 1997 – 12 October 1999, and for the third time on 17 February 1997 – 12 October 1999.
For most of her life, she remained a stay-at-home mother raising her four kids; Maryam Nawaz, Asma Nawaz, Hassan Nawaz, and Hussain Nawaz. However, whenever Pakistan Muslim League (N) needed her to lead the way, she led it with extreme dignity and perseverance.
In the aftermath of 12 October 1999 coup d’état, she played a central role in keeping PML-N intact in the absence of her exiled husband Mian Nawaz Sharif. After taking up the reign of her party, she served as its president from 1999 to2002.
It was a time when most of the close allies of Sharif family parted ways, but she was the one who dauntlessly stood against every odd and did everything in her capacity to keep the party alive and integrated.
For the first time, she contested from NA-120 despite her failing health and won against Dr. Yasmin Rashid of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) by securing 59,41 votes.
All political leaders took to media to express their grief and share their condolences over her death.
میری بھابھی اور میاں نواز شریف صاحب کی اہلیہ بیگم کلثوم نواز اب ہم میں نہیں رہیں، اللہ تعالٰی انکی مغفرت فرمائے: شہباز شریف
ﺇﻧَّﺎﻟِﻠّٰﻪ ﻭﺇﻧَّﺎﺇﻟَﻴْﻪِ ﺭَﺍﺟِﻌُﻮْﻥ
— PML(N) (@pmln_org) September 11, 2018
President of Pakistan expressed his grief with the following tweet:
I express my sincere regrets on the sad demise of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz. My condolences to the Sharif family on this loss. May her soul rest in peace
— The President of Pakistan (@PresOfPakistan) September 11, 2018
Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, expressed his grief over the death of Begum Nawaz and also assured that the Sharif family will be fully facilitated according to the law of Pakistan.
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
In her final few weeks, she was attended by her sons; Hassan and Hussain and daughter Asma. Her husband, Mian Nawaz Nawaz Sharif, and daughter Maryam Nawaz has been convicted in the Avenfield Apartment case along with her son-in-law, Captain (R.) Safdar Nawaz, detained on forgery charges.
Enigmatic Situation Ahead:
Both sons, Hassan and Hussain, reside in the UK and hold British nationality, but they were declared absconders under financial corruption charges and for not showing up following multiple summonses by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Lately, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) contacted Interpol Headquarters looking for the red warrants for the siblings.
According to sources, the application expressed that both brothers; Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, were demanded by NAB in the debasement references.
Earlier on 4 December 2017, an accountability court had declared Hassan and Hussain Nawaz proclaimed offenders in three corruption references filed by NAB.
The anti-corruption watchdog also presented a report in court regarding property owned by the brothers. The two brothers are required to face charges in all of the following references ordered by the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) in its 28 July 2018 decision in the Panama Papers cases: Avenfield reference, Azizia Steel Mills, Hill Metals Establishment, and Flagship Investment Limited. Their non-bailable arrest warrants were issued on October 2, and, to this date, remain in effect.
According to sources, her dead body will be brought back to the country after completing the formal procedure. Now the enigmatic situation which arises for sharifs is that if interment services take place in Pakistan, Lahore (most probably Jati Umrah), her sons could be arrested upon arrival.
On the other hand, if the final service is carried out in London, her husband; convicted and detained Mian Nawaz Sharif, daughter—Maryam Nawaz, and son-in-law—Captain (R.) Safdar Nawaz, will not be able to attend the services, as the three are serving their respective terms in Adiyala Jail under severe corruption charges.
Potential Interment Service at the Regent Park: Dar Claimed
According to Ishaq Dar, former Finance Minister indicted in multiple financial crimes, claimed, Begum Nawaz’s burial service (Namaz-e-Janazah) will be held at Regent Park, London. Pertinent to note here that Dar is under trial by the Supreme Court of Pakistan under multiple financial crimes, and is living in London at the moment after the expiration of his diplomatic passport. As of now, his legal status remains “stateless” which would give him an excuse not to show for his trials in Pakistan.
Keeping in view of his situation, and contrary to his claim, if Begum Nawaz’s burial service is held a Jati Umrah, he shall not be able to attend the service unless he surrenders to the law of Pakistan.
At the moment, Shahbaz Sharif, President PML-N and brother-in-law of the deceased Begum Nawaz, is in Adiyala to visit his brother for the final decision of Begum Nawaz interment.