LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is not going to replace its candidate for NA-120 as Kulsoom Nawaz will run for a seat in parliament despite her illness, said Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq on Wednesday.
Speaking to the media outside the Sharifs’ Raiwind residence, he said that while Ms Nawaz was abroad for treatment, there was no chance that the party would replace her with another candidate.
He clarified that Ms Nawaz had been diagnosed with throat cancer and not blood cancer as was being reported in the media. He said the cancer had been detected in its initial stages and was curable.
He said that the former first lady would hopefully join and participate in the election campaign a few days before the polls.
Imran, Aseefa, Aitzaz and COAS wish former first lady fast recovery
Earlier this month, the PML-N said Ms Nawaz would take part in the election, running for the same seat left vacant after her husband was disqualified from office by the Supreme Court for concealing assets.
The Sharif family confirmed that their matriarch was suffering from lymphoma, a type of cancer of the lymph nodes.
Nawaz Sharif is likely to leave for London in a couple of days to attend to his wife.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Maryam Nawaz said that she was taking care of her mother’s election campaign who, according to her, is undergoing treatment in London.
Tweeting from her verified account @MaryamNSharif, she said: “My mother has been diagnosed with lymphoma, cancer of lymph nodes, left side of neck in her case. Her treatment begins immediately.
“Drs [doctors] hopeful that since it is diagnosed at an early stage, its curable. Thanku for yr kind prayers. May Allah bless her complete recovery.”
As word spread about the former first lady’s ill health, despite their many differences, politicians tweeted praying for her recovery.
The former prime minister’s biggest political opponent, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, tweeted from his verified account (@ImranKhanPTI): “I wish her the best as she fights this disease and pray she wins her battle against cancer.”
Pakistan Peoples Party’s Aitzaz Ahsan, who is Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, tweeted from his personal account @AitzazAhsanPK: “Political Difference aside, Prayers for #KulsoomNawaz’s Health & Speedy Recovery from Throat Cancer.”
The daughter of Benazir Bhutto and former president Asif Ali Zardari, Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari, tweeted from her verified account (@AseefaBZ): “Our family sends prayers to Begum Kulsoom Nawaz prayers for her swift recovery.”
Ms Nawaz’s brother-in-law and the Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, tweeted from his verified account (@CMShehbaz): “My best wishes & prayers for my Kulsoom bhabi for her quick recovery, good health & long life! The whole family stands by her...”
COAS calls Nawaz
Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa telephoned Mr Sharif to send his best wishes for speedy recovery of Ms Nawaz on Wednesday, according to a tweet by Director General of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor.
@OfficalDGISPR: “COAS made a tel call to Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. Expressed his best wishes and prayers for health of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif.”
Despite holding the unique distinction of being the first lady three times, Ms Nawaz prefers to keep a low profile. She joined active politics for a brief period when her husband and other male members of her family had been incarcerated after the October 1999 coup by the then army chief, Gen Pervez Musharraf. She led the party, putting pressure on the military to release her family.
Published in Dawn, August 24th, 2017