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LAHORE: As news of former first lady Begum Kulsoom Nawaz’s demise spread on Tuesday, politicians took to social media to convey their heartfelt condolences to the Sharif family.

Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his grief over Begum Kulsoom’s death and promised his government’s assistance to the Sharif family in this time of grief. He directed the Pakistan High Commission in Britain to facilitate the Sharif family in London in every way possible.

“Sad to learn of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz’s death,” he said in a message on Twitter on Tuesday evening. “She was a courageous woman of great dignity and confronted her disease with fortitude. My condolences and prayers go to the Sharif family.”

The news of her demise was confirmed in a tweet on the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s official account. “My sister in law and wife of Nawaz Sharif Begum Kulsoom Nawaz is no longer with us. May Allah absolve her sins: Shehbaz Sharif,” read the tweet.

Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa expressed “his grief and heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family on sad demise of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz”. “May Allah bless the departed soul eternal peace at Heaven-Amen,” Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor tweeted quoting the army chief.

PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan apologises to Sharifs for his remarks about Kulsoom’s illness

In a statement, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar expressed deep sorrow and grief over the demise of Begum Kulsoom and “prayed to Almighty Allah to shower His blessings upon the departed soul. Amen!”

Members of the federal cabinet also released separate statements on Twitter over Begum Kulsoom’s death.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said Begum Kulsoom was a “brave woman who stood her ground in difficult times”, as he extended “sincere condolences” to PML-N workers and the Sharif family.

Finance Minister Asad Umar said that he was saddened to hear about Begum Kulsoom Nawaz passing away. “May Allah grant her a place in jannat and give the family the strength to bear the loss,” he wrote.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he had instructed the Pakistani High Commission in London to “facilitate the bereaved family in all possible ways”. “Deeply saddened to know about the demise of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz. May Allah bless her soul with the highest place in Paradise,” he tweeted.

Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari tweeted: “Truly saddened to hear of the passing of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz. She was a courageous lady who confronted political adversity and illness with a resoluteness and quiet dignity.”

Railways minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed also reacted to the “tragic news”.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser expressed his deep condolences, saying that “Begum Kulsoom Nawaz worked for democracy in the country”.

Provincial minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said: “I would like to extend my condolences on the sad demise of #KulsoomNawaz.”

Besides the ruling party, several prominent political leaders hailed Begum Kulsoom as a “brave woman” and expressed sympathies with the Sharif family.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari expressed his sadness over the passing away of the three-time first lady.

In his condolence message released on Twitter, the PPP chairman termed Begum Kulsoom Nawaz a brave woman who fought for democracy during the Musharraf regime. He expressed sympathies with the bereaved family and “prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in eternal peace and grant courage and fortitude to the bereaved family members to bear this irreparable loss”.

PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan said he was deeply aggrieved over Kulsoom Nawaz’s demise, adding that she was a pious lady. “I am deeply aggrieved over my statements that caused pain to the Sharif family,” said Mr Ahsan.

Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari also expressed her grief at the news and extended her condolences to the Sharif family, noting that Begum Kulsoom “deserves the nation’s respect”.

“Very tragic news of Begum Kulsoom passing away in London. My heartfelt condolences to the entire PMLN family especially @MaryamNSharif. She was a wife & mother but also a First Lady of Pakistan & deserves the nation’s respect. May she rest in peace,” she wrote.

MQM leader Syed Ali Raza Abidi hoped that the government would grant “early bail” to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar, who are serving sentences in Adiala jail. “My condolences to the Sharif family on the sad demise of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz,” he tweeted.

Awami National Party secretary general Mian Iftikhar Husain said: “Sad to know about the demise of Kulsoom Nawaz Bibi. Her struggle against the dictatorship of Gen Musharraf will be remembered forever. May her soul rest in peace.”

Pak Sarzameen Party chief Syed Mustafa Kamal stated: “We surely belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. Very sad to hear about the demise of #KulsoomNawaz Sahiba. May Allah rest her soul in peace and give her highest place in Jannah. My heartfelt condolences with all the family members @Hussain_NSharif @MaryamNSharif @CMShehbaz.”

British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew also extended his condolences on Twitter: “My condolences, on behalf of everyone at the British High Commission, on the passing away today of Former First Lady of Pakistan, Begum #KulsoomNawaz. My thoughts are with her family and friends.”

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai wrote: “Deeply saddened to hear about the demise of the former First Lady of Pakistan Begum Kulsoom Nawaz. Heartfelt condolences to all her family and prayers for the departed soul. Her political struggle and courage will be remembered.”

German Ambassador to Pakistan Matrin Kobler offered his heartfelt condolences to the Sharif family. “May her soul rest in peace,” he tweeted.

National Party leader Hasil Bizenjo prayed that Kulsoom Nawaz may rest in peace.

MNA Mohsin Dawar wrote: “Sad to know about the news of Kulsoom Nawaz passing away, our heartfelt condolence goes with @MaryamNSharif and the entire sharif family, may her soul rest in eternal peace.”

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2018