LAHORE: Party of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday announced that funeral prayers of former First Lady Begum Kulsoom Nawaz will be held in Lahore at the ancestral home of Sharif Family.
Senior PML-N leader Rana Sanullah said that the arrangements are also being made for her funeral at the Regent Park Islamic Centre in London where her sons and other close family members will offer the prayers before her burial in Lahore.
President PML-N, and brother of ex-PM, Shehbaz Sharif have departed for UK to bring back Begum Kulsoom’s body as her sons are not traveling to Pakistan due to corruption cases filed against them.
Kulsoom 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.
Pakistani media reported that she had been put on life support and a ventilator earlier in the day.
Conspiracy theories claiming that Nawaz was actually healthy, and that the Sharifs were faking her illness to gain sympathy, swirled in the final weeks of the acrimonious campaign.
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.
"She was a brave lady," Siddiq-ul-Farouq, a stalwart party loyalist, told AFP, describing her as well-educated and dignified.
- ‘Devastating’ -
For years Nawaz stayed out of politics, focusing on the couple’s family and home life. The couple have four children.
But after Sharif was first imprisoned following a military coup in 1999 Nawaz stepped into the limelight, Farouq said.
"She told her father-in-law, ‘Dad, I have to go out,’ and he replied, ‘Daughter, you must go,’" he recounted.
Nawaz took over leadership of the party, defying house arrest to attend street rallies standing up to military dictator General Pervez Musharraf and demanding her husband’s release. Sharif was eventually allowed to go into exile in Saudi Arabia in 2007.
"She fought against cancer with a lot of courage," Farouq added.