Nawaz Sharif to attend Kulsoom’s funeral

In this picture released by the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) party, jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif greets a welcome party in Lahore on Sept. 12 after being released temporarily on parole. (AFP)
Updated 12 September 2018

Nawaz Sharif to attend Kulsoom’s funeral

  • Wife of former-PM will be laid to rest in Lahore on Friday
  • Punjab government releases inmates on parole for twelve hours which lawyers say could later be extended to five days

ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday released ex-premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Mohammad Safdar on parole, a move which will allow them to attend the funeral of Nawaz’s wife, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, who died on Tuesday.

The trio, accompanied by Shehbaz Sharif, Nawaz’s younger brother and president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), left for Lahore from Rawalpindi on a special plane from the Benazir Bhutto International Airport.

Kulsoom died at the age of 68, in London, after succumbing to a long battle with cancer. Her remains will be brought back to Pakistan for burial.

“Permission is hereby granted in favor of prisoner Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif s/o Muhammad Sharif, former prime minister of Pakistan, presently confined in Central Prison, Rawalpindi, to attend the funeral prayer of his wife late Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, at Jati Umrah (Raiwind), Lahore,” a notification issued by Punjab government’s Home Department, on Wednesday, said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Shehbaz had submitted a request seeking permission for the three to be allowed to attend the funeral. According to the notification, the permission has been granted for only twelve hours which lawyers say can be extended up to five days.

Ex-premier Nawaz and daughter Maryam were lodged in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail after being handed jail sentences for 10 and seven years, in a corruption case.

Advocate Sharafat Ali, an assistant to the family’s legal team, said that the duration of the parole would be extended on the request of the family. “It is prerogative of the Home Department to extend the duration of the parole. We hope it will be extended to at least five days,” he told Arab News.

Under Pakistan’s Prison Rules, neither of the three can move outside their residence in Jati Umrah, Lahore, while a police escort will be responsible for their safety and security.

Shortly after Kulsoom’s death, Prime Minister Imran Khan assured the family that they would be extended full legal support, within the ambit of the law and constitution.

Kulsoom was undergoing treatment at London’s Harley Street Clinic, since August last year, after she was diagnosed with early-stage lymphoma.

She underwent multiple surgeries and at least five chemotherapy sessions during the time, and was finally placed on life-support from July this year.

With the family deciding to bury Kulsoom in Lahore, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, PML-N's Information Secretary, said that the body will be brought back to Pakistan on Friday.

“Shehbaz Sharif has been assigned the responsibility to bring back the remains [of Begum Kulsoom]. He will take the first available flight to London for the purpose,” Khan told Arab News.

Pakistan ready to respond to a full spectrum threat — army spokesman

Updated 26 min 19 sec ago

Pakistan ready to respond to a full spectrum threat — army spokesman

  • Prepared to counter any attack from Indian security forces
  • Warns New Delhi against action; says Islamabad “would surprise you”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan army spokesman Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor warned India on Friday against any military action, saying that should New Delhi “show any aggression,” it would be Islamabad that would “surprise you”. 
He added in the same breath that “we do not wish to go to war”.
In his statement — which was in response to growing threats from its nuclear-armed neighbor — the spokesperson said that Islamabad was prepared to respond to a “full spectrum threat” without enabling its nuclear capability.
“Pakistan is not preparing for war. War and revenge threats are coming from you. We are a sovereign state and hold the right to respond to your threats. We are not preparing to initiate, but response and defense is our right and we will exercise that,” he said, adding that he hoped India “got the message”.
Ghafoor said Islamabad delayed its response to the Pulwama attack to investigate New Delhi’s baseless claims of state-sponsored terrorism to ascertain the veracity of the allegations, following which Prime Minister Imran Khan responded in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday wherein he rejected the assertion and warned New Delhi of retaliation if attacked.
He said that Khan has offered to assist India in investigating the attack if it can back its claims and would take strict measures against the person who is “an enemy of Pakistan”, an offer Ghafoor said has been given before as well. He added that “terrorism is a regional problem and Pakistan is willing to table talks with India on the matter”.
Ghafoor made the comments at a press briefing which came a week after a deadly suicide attack in the Pulwama district of Indian-administered Kashmir. The attack killed more than 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel and left scores injured.
Listing terror incidents of the past in India or Indian-administered Kashmir, Ghafoor said there is a pattern of occurrences of this nature adding that “when an important event for Pakistan is scheduled to happen, this type of stage action arises”.
The brazen bombing came before eight very important engagements for Pakistan, Ghafoor explained connecting India’s previous attempts to paint Pakistan as the sponsor of terrorism, hold its western neighbor responsible and push it toward diplomatic isolation.
“Saudi Crown Prince was due in Pakistan to hold a (historic) investment conference, talks on terror listing at United Nations Security Council was scheduled, development on Afghan peace reconciliation process was underway, discussions on human rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir at the European Union was due, the decisive hearing of (Indian spy) Kulbushan Jhadav case at the world court, a discussion on Financial Action Task Force was to take place for a decision on Pakistan, both sides (India and Pakistan) were to hold a meeting on the Kartarpur border crossing development, and Pakistan super league cricket matches [in which foreign players are participating] had begun,” he said.
The military spokesman questioned how cross border infiltration could have happened when the number of Indian security forces is larger than the population of Kashmiris. “India should ask its forces which have been there for seven decades and spent a huge quantum on defense, how infiltration occurred?” he said.
“The attack happened miles from the Line of Control (LoC), the explosives used were under use by Indian security forces and administration – it didn’t come from Pakistan. The vehicle used was local, not from Pakistan. The attack [was carried out ] by the young Kashmiri, who was resident of Indian-administered Kashmir,” Ghafoor said.
He added that Pakistan is the only country in the world that has not let terrorism take control of its narrative and has given ample sacrifices to counter it. He cited the example of Islamabad helping other nations eliminate Al Qaeda from Afghanistan.
Kashmir, he said, is the biggest issue of the region and offered India to resume talks on the matter. Being the world’s largest democracy, India needs “introspection” on the Kashmir issue and two democracies can’t afford war, he said.