Jailed ex-Pak PM Nawaz Sharif’s wife, Begum Kulsoom, dies in London

Former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif’s wife Begum Kulsoom Nawaz dead at 68

The cancer-stricken wife of Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif died in London on Tuesday while her husband and daughter were in jail, officials said.

He said the former prime minister and his daughter would be freed for 12 hours on the day of the funeral and burial, which is likely to take place in three to four days after the body is flown back home from London. Kulsoom, who was under treatment at London's Harley Street Clinic since June 2014, was placed on life support earlier Tuesday as her health deteriorated, Geo TV reported.

The 68-year-old three-time former first lady was diagnosed with early-stage lymphoma in August last year and had been since then in London where she underwent multiple surgeries.

She would not take to politics again until past year, after her husband - now prime minister again - was disqualified by the Supreme Court from holding a public office.

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. She received a Master's degree in Urdu from Punjab University in 1970. She was diagnosed with lymphoma a year ago, barely a month after Nawaz Sharif was removed from office by the Pakistan Supreme Court, which ordered him to face trial in an anti-corruption court.

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Begum Kulsoom led defiant, lonely protests against the Musharraf regime to get her husband freed from prison. According to some party leaders, she also occasionally wrote Mr Sharif's speeches.

In a 2012 interview with a local weekly, Maryam had said her mother "dauntlessly challenged the usurper when a lot of men backed out..."

President Dr Arif Alvi has expressed grief over the passing away of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.

Advocate Sharafat Ali, an assistant to the legal team of the Sharif family, said that it was the prerogative of the jail authorities to release Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz on parole and "we will apply soon for their release". In a statement, he said all facilities will be provided to the family and heirs of Kulsoom as per law.

"Sad to learn of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz's death. May God bless her soul".

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