Spokesperson for the PML-N Marriyum Aurangzeb on Wednesday evening announced that Begum Kulsoom Nawaz's funeral prayers will be offered on Friday, September 14, at the Sharif Medical City in Jati Umra.
Party sources in Lahore had earlier confirmed to the media that Begum Kulsoom would be laid to rest at the Jati Umra residence of the Sharif family.
Congregational prayers (Rasm-e-Qul) for the benefit of the deceased will be offered on September 16 (Sunday) from Asr (late afternoon) to Maghrib (sunset), Aurangzeb announced.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired captain Mohammad Safdar had been released from Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail on parole in the early hours of Wednesday, hours after Begum Kulsoom Nawaz's demise in a London hospital.
They are currently at Jati Umra, awaiting the funeral. Three rooms inside the residence have been declared a sub-jail, DawnNewsTV reported.
Meanwhile, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif arrived in London in the early hours of Thursday to attend Begum Kulsoom's funeral prayers at the Regent's Park mosque. He will accompany Begum Kulsoom's body back to Lahore.
Family sources told Dawn that Kulsoom's sons would not accompany her body to Lahore, though her other daughter, Asma, and grandson, Zikriya Sharif, would go with the casket to Pakistan.
"A PIA flight carrying the body will arrive here on Friday morning and she is likely to be laid to rest the same day beside the grave of her father-in-law Mian Sharif at Jati Umra," they said.
Diagnosed with throat cancer in August last year, Begum Kulsoom was still undergoing treatment when she suffered cardiac arrest on June 15 and was rushed to a private hospital in London where she had remained admitted since then.
According to family sources, her health deteriorated on Sunday night and she was placed on life support. She couldn’t be revived, however, and breathed her last on Tuesday.
Shahbaz had filed an application on Tuesday for Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Mohammad Safdar's release for at least five days so that they may attend Begum Kulsoom's funeral.
They were initially released on 12-hour parole in the early hours of Wednesday (today) and escorted to Nur Khan airbase, from where they were flown to Lahore.
The Punjab government today decided to extend their parole for three days, GeoNews reported, citing a spokesperson for the provincial Home Department. "The extension will be in effect from midnight and will expire on Saturday night," the spokesperson told GeoNews.
In the event of a delay in Begum Kulsoom's funeral, he said it would be "further extended".
Condolences at Jati Umra
A large number of relatives, party leaders, workers, politicians and well-wishers visited Jati Umra today to condole Kulsoom's death with the grieving family.
Media representatives were present in large numbers outside the house. However, they were not allowed inside.
PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz while talking to media in Lahore said Kulsoom was a "courageous lady". "Kulsoom Nawaz raised the flag of democracy during the rule of a dictator," he added.
She was an ideal lady: Hussain Nawaz
While talking to reporters in London on Wednesday, Hussain Nawaz said his mother was an "ideal lady" in his eyes, and that she had set such high standards for human values in daily life that it became difficult for her children to meet them.
"We learned from her at every step till the moment she lived," Hussain said in a video shared by the PML-N. He said he used to seek guidance from her whenever he faced a problem.
"I have a lost a great friend [in her death]," he said.
Funeral preparations underway
The PML-N announced suspension of political activities for three days and started funeral preparations at Jati Umra where Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif’s mother Begum Shamim Akhtar and their late brother Abbas Sharif’s family reside.
While talking to reporters outside the private hospital on Harley Street in London on Tuesday, Hussain had announced: “My mother died at 11:15am (BST).”
He said that during the last few weeks she made very good recovery. He said that her recovery not only helped the doctors to remove the ventilator but also allowed her to be shifted to a room.
“But on Sunday night, her health deteriorated suddenly and she had to be put back on the life support machine," he said. "However, her condition didn’t improve and she left for her eternal abode today."
Her body was later shifted to the mortuary of Regent’s Park Mosque where, according to the family sources, her funeral prayers will be offered on Thursday after Zuhr.
In reply to a question about her funeral, Hussain said that arrangements were being worked out and the details would be released to the media as soon as they were finalised. “It is not a long time since she breathed her last. We are working on the arrangements for her funeral prayers and will inform the media soon,” he reiterated.
To condole with her sons, Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz, on her death, some party workers gathered outside the hospital where various TV channels of Pakistan did live transmissions.
Later in the evening, family sources confirmed to the media that Begum Kulsoom Nawaz’s funeral prayers would be offered at the Regent's Park mosque and her body would be flown to Lahore by a PIA flight after completion of legal formalities involving death certificate from the hospital and relevant permission from the coroner allowing the family to take the body out of the UK.
Relatives meet Nawaz, Maryam
Hours after her death, Shahbaz Sharif flew from Lahore to Rawalpindi and went straight from Benazir Bhutto International Airport to Adiala jail to meet his brother Nawaz and niece Maryam for condolence. He also discussed with the former premier matters pertaining to shifting of her body and their release on parole for her burial.
Shahbaz remained with his brother for about an hour and discussed the schedule of her burial before flying back to Lahore.
Other relatives Hamza Shahbaz, Maryam’s daughter Mehrun Nisa and son-in-law Raheel Munir, Suleman Shahbaz, and Abbas Sharif’s family members also visited the jail to condole with the daughter and spouse of Begum Kulsoom. Besides, some PML-N leaders including Senator Chaudhry Tanveer and former federal minister Tariq Fazal Chaudhry also met the Sharifs in the jail.
Meanwhile, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told Dawn that Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed to facilitate the shifting of the body for burial and release of Nawaz and Maryam on parole.
“The prime minister has already directed the relevant authorities to facilitate their release on parole in accordance with the law,” Chaudhry said.
Meanwhile, it is yet to be decided whether Hassan and Hussain would return to attend the funeral prayers of their mother in Lahore. “No decision in this regard has been taken yet. Hassan and Hussain will themselves decide about their return to the country,” said former law minister of Punjab Rana Sanaullah.
A source in the PML-N said it was unlikely that Nawaz’s sons would return in the face of corruption cases against them. “Both of them have already been declared proclaimed offenders, therefore, they will not be advised by their father to return,” he said.