Thousands attend funeral of Pakistani ex-PM’s wife in Lahore

1 / 4
People surround an ambulance carries a body of Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of Pakistani jailed former minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP)
2 / 4
People attend funeral of Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of Pakistani jailed former minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP)
3 / 4
Pakistani jailed former minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, center, prays during a funeral of his wife Kulsoom Nawaz with his brother Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP)
4 / 4
Pakistani jailed former minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, center, arrives to attend the funeral of his wife Kulsoom Nawaz in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP)
Updated 14 September 2018

Thousands attend funeral of Pakistani ex-PM’s wife in Lahore

  • Kulsoom Nawaz, 68, was one of the country’s most well-regarded politicians.
  • She died on Tuesday after months of lying in critical condition at a London hospital.

LAHORE: Thousands of mourners attended the funeral of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s wife in the eastern city of Lahore on Friday.
Kulsoom Nawaz, 68, was one of the country’s most well-regarded politicians. She died on Tuesday after months of lying in critical condition at a London hospital. She had undergone surgery for throat cancer last year.
Her body was brought to her home city of Lahore by plane early Friday, and she was laid to rest at her family’s graveyard.
Sharif, who was temporarily freed from prison along with his daughter and her husband, attended his wife’s funeral, as an estimated 10,000 of his supporters gathered outside his house to express their condolences.
Sharif and his two detained family members are serving prison terms for convictions on corruption charges.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court last year disqualified Sharif from holding office and later an anti-graft tribunal convicted him and his relatives. He served as prime minister three times during his political career, which began in the 1980s.
Sharif will be returned to jail along with his daughter and her husband on Monday, when a court is expected to rule on his bail application.
Sharif’s two sons, who live in Britain, missed their mother’s funeral in Lahore. They did not return home to avoid potential arrest over corruption cases. Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz attended a separate funeral for their mother in London on Thursday.


Pakistan launches anti-polio drive as COVID-19 cases decline

Updated 15 August 2020

Pakistan launches anti-polio drive as COVID-19 cases decline

  • Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the three countries in the world where polio is still endemic
  • Since Jan., Pakistan has reported about 100 new polio cases from various parts of the country

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani health officials on Saturday launched a seven-day vaccination campaign against polio as part of efforts aimed at eliminating the crippling disease amid a steady decline in fatalities and infections from the coronavirus, which had recently overwhelmed the country’s fragile health system.
The anti-polio campaign, which began amid tight security, aims to vaccinate as many as 34 million children across Pakistan, including former Taliban strongholds bordering Afghanistan, a government statement said.
Medical workers participating in the drive against polio were seen adhering to social distancing regulations as they wore face masks and gloves while going house-to-house to avoid a spike in coronavirus cases.
“I am hopeful that parents will continue to realize the importance of vaccinating their children during this campaign,” said Faisal Sultan, an adviser to the prime minister on health issues.
According to Rana Safdar, who heads the government’s polio program, similar campaigns against polio will be launched in October, November and December.
Earlier Saturday, Pakistan’s military said Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist, praised Islamabad’s success in the fight against coronavirus in a telephone call to the country’s army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. It said Gates also discussed the resumption of the drive against polio.
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the three countries in the world where polio — a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the polio virus — is still endemic. The nonprofit Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has helped Pakistan and other places worldwide fight the disease.
Pakistan had hoped to eliminate the disease by 2018, when only 12 cases were reported. But there was a surge in new cases the following year. Since January, Pakistan has reported about 100 new polio cases from various parts of the country, including the northwestern region bordering Afghanistan.
Pakistani Taliban and other militants regularly stage attacks on polio teams and security forces escorting them because they claim the anti-polio drive is part of an alleged Western conspiracy to sterilize children or collect intelligence. Attacks on polio teams increased after it was revealed that a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign was used as a ruse by the CIA in the hunt for Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was killed by US commandos in 2011 in Pakistan.
Pakistan halted the drive against polio in March and resumed it last month amid a decline in infections and fatalities from COVID-19.
On Saturday, Pakistan reported only 9 new deaths from the new virus in the past 24 hours, increasing the country’s total of COVID-19 deaths to 6,162. So far, Pakistan has reported 288,047 cases and officials say about 93% of the patients recovered since February, when the country reported its first confirmed case.