ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: The cross section of the country’s top leadership and people from different walks of life expressed their grief and sorrow over the demise of Pakistan's three-time first lady, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, who breathed her last in London on Tuesday.
The political leadership paid rich tributes to Begum Kulsoom who stood bravely and resolutely against dictator Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, who overthrew the Nawaz government on October 12, 1999. In his twitter message, Prime Minister Imran Khan, said: 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.
A press statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said Prime Minister Imran Khan offered his condolences on Begum Kulsoom’s demise and said the incarcerated members of the Sharif family will be facilitated in whichever way the law allows.
In his message, President Arif Alvi expressed deep grief over her sad demise and prayed to the Almighty Allah for resting the departed soul in peace, while extending his condolences to the bereaved family. “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,” he tweeted.
Similarly, DG ISPR, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor in his tweet said: “COAS expressed his grief and heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family on the sad demise of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz. ‘May Allah bless the departed soul, rest her in eternal peace at Heaven-Amen,’ COAS.”
The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Saqib Nisar, as well as the air and naval chiefs expressed their sorrow and condolences over the demise of Begum Kulsoom.
The Senate Chairman, Sadiq Sanjrani, also expressed his condolences. “May the departed soul rest in eternal peace,” he said. Finance Minister Asad Umar and Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser also expressed their deep condolences.
The PML-N president and Nawaz's younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, said the party and Pakistan's democratic process are indebted to Begum Kulsoom. "An era has come to an end," he said. "She played an exemplary role as a mother, sister, daughter and wife," he added. The PML-N president continued: "She fought bravely in the most difficult times. Her death is a huge loss and I am in a state of shock."
The PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said: “Kulsoom Nawaz was a brave lady who struggled for democracy.” The former president Asif Ali Zardari also expressed his deep grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Begum Kulsoom.
The PML-N Chairman, Raja Zafar-ul-Haq, eulogised her services for the country and democracy, while the ANP leader Asfandyar Wali said Begum Kulsoom fought against dictatorship. The "ANP is with the Sharif family in their difficult time." The PML-Q chief, Shujaat Hussain, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and PSP Chairman Mustafa Kamal too expressed their grief over her demise.
Britain's High Commissioner to Pakistan, Thomas Drew, also offered condolences on the passing away of the former first lady. “My condolences, on behalf of everyone at the British High Commission, on the passing away today of the former First Lady of Pakistan, Begum #KulsoomNawaz. My thoughts are with her family and friends,” he said in a tweet. The German Ambassador to Pakistan, Martin Kobler, offered his heartfelt condolences to Kulsoom Nawaz's family and friends. "May her soul rest in peace," he tweeted.
Meanwhile, PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan, while expressing his sorrow, said: "I am deeply grieved over my statements that caused pain to the Sharif family." The JUI-F chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and JI Ameer Senator Siraj-ul-Haq too expressed their grief over the death of Kulsoom Nawaz, while extending condolences to the family.
In his reaction, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he was deeply saddened by her death. The foreign minister tweeted that the Pakistani High Commission in London has been instructed to facilitate the bereaved family in all possible ways. Similarly, Information Minister Fawad Hussain said Begum Kulsoom was a brave lady who remained steadfast during times of hardship and tribulation.
And in Lahore, people from all walks of life started visiting the Model Town secretariat of the PML-N to offer their condolences. Meanwhile, PML-N has cancelled all political activities till the burial of Begum Kulsoom in Lahore on Friday.