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

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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)
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People attend funeral of Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of Pakistani jailed former minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP)
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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)
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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.


Locust invasion wreaks havoc on Pakistan’s crops, orchards

Updated 4 min 16 sec ago

Locust invasion wreaks havoc on Pakistan’s crops, orchards

  • Massive swarms of the desert locust began damaging crops in Pakistan last month
  • Millions of desert locusts had already damaged orchards, crops and vegetables
MULTAN, Pakistan: An invasion of locusts has spread across Pakistan, officials said Friday, causing damage to crops and orchards and posing a threat to food security in an impoverished Islamic nation already struggling to tackle a virus pandemic that has caused more than 1,300 deaths.
Massive swarms of the desert locust, which experts say originates in Africa and is the most destructive of the locust species, began damaging crops in Pakistan last month.
But the situation worsened this week and authorities began dispatching aircraft and spraying machines filled with pesticides mounted on vehicles to eliminate the insects, which are roughly the length of a finger and fly together by the millions.
Farmers could be seen wading through clouds of the insects as some tried to kill them with sticks.
Chaudhry Asghar, an agriculture officer in Multan, said millions of desert locusts had already damaged orchards, crops and vegetables.
“We have intensified efforts to save our crops from any further invasion of locusts,” Syed Fahar Imam, minister for National Food Security, said Friday. He said the government will buy five more aircraft for spraying crops.
The insects have wreaked havoc on swathes of farmland in eastern Punjab, southern Sindh and southwestern Baluchistan provinces. They also attacked crops in the northwest bordering Afghanistan.
The locusts have also brought agricultural destruction to neighboring India, where critics pointed the finger at Pakistan as a new breeding ground for the desert locusts. Pakistani officials said no country should blame another for the situation, but all affected countries need to make collective efforts to prevent a possible food crisis in the region.
Farmers say while crops of rabi, a type of grain, were sown in winter and harvested in the spring, locusts are damaging cotton and vegetable crops sown in April.
“I have already lost my cotton crop and vegetables because of these locusts,” Abdul Rehman, a farmer in Baluchistan province, said. He asked what they would eat if the locusts continued unchecked.
The National Disaster Management Authority said resources were being mobilized and operations were underway to curb the locust invasion.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has struggled to contain the spread of the coronavirus, with more than 64,000 cases confirmed and more than 1,300 fatalities.
The country reported 57 virus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, its most in one day since the outbreak began in February. Infections increased in Pakistan, including Islamabad, recently after the government eased lockdown restrictions — ignoring warnings from medical professionals.