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 thanks Saudi Arabia for supporting it in 'difficult times'

Updated 48 min 8 sec ago

Pakistan thanks Saudi Arabia for supporting it in 'difficult times'

  • Minister Shibli Faraz says the country cannot run independent foreign policy until it gains economic strength
  • Claims Pakistan’s economy has improved in the last two years due to the government’s prudent policies

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz thanked Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for always rescuing his country in difficult times while dismissing rumors of any differences between the two countries.
“Saudi Arabia has always been with us and we are thankful to them,” the minister said while briefing reporters here in Islamabad on various decisions made during the federal cabinet meeting earlier in the day that was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The minister said the Kingdom was a brotherly country that had “always stood by us in difficult times.”
He said that a lot of Pakistani labor was working in the Kingdom, adding that the two holiest sites of Islam were also located in the same country.
To a question about the reported return of $1 billion to Saudi Arabia, he said that the money taken as a loan. “It was taken and returned. This is not in our interest to link it [the loan issue] to other things,” he said.
Saudi Arabia extended a $6.2 billion financial package, including $3 billion cash as a soft loan and $3.2 billion of deferred oil payment facility, to Pakistan in November 2018 to help the country stave off its balance of payments crisis.
The minister said that the world was moving toward readjustment as the world order was changing, especially in the last few years.
Faraz said that like every other country, “Pakistan as a sovereign state will work in the direction and pursue objectives that reinforce its national interests.”
He also added that the country could not run an independent foreign policy without acquiring adequate economic strength.
Talking about the government’s economic achievements in the last two years, he said that Pakistan’s current account deficit was brought down from $20 billion to $3 billion while the central bank’s reserves had increased from $8.5 billion to $12.5 billion due to prudent economic policies.
The minister informed that sales of cement, fertilizers, diesel and petrol had increased many times in the last two years, reflecting an improvement of the country’s fragile economy.
He noted that the coronavirus pandemic had not hit the country’s economy as hard as other countries in the region.
“The economic revival has started … Difficult times have almost passed and better days are right ahead of us,” the minister claimed.