LAHORE: As the five-day parole granted by the Punjab government to the Sharifs, who had been sent to Adiala jail two months ago in the Avenfield apartments reference, will end on Monday at 4pm, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shahbaz Sharif has been making efforts to get another extension in their parole till Begum Kulsoom’s chehlum, sources said.
Asked about the party leadership’s efforts to seek extension in the parole of ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired captain Mohammad Safdar, former speaker of the National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq told media that the Sharif family could announce a decision in this regard. “Earlier, Nawaz Sharif had not sought parole. I hope the government itself will extend their parole on humanitarian grounds,” he added.
Earlier during the day, the leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q), Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Balochistan and the Chinese consul general in Lahore visited the former premier to condole the demise of Begum Kulsoom at Jati Umra where PML-N leaders, members of the Sharif family and relatives attended qul khwani for her.
Zardari, Bilawal and Chaudhry Shujaat meet Nawaz to offer condolences
Expressing their grief and sorrow over her death, former president Asif Ali Zardari along with PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari during their meeting with the PML-N supremo and president talked about her political struggle. “Begum Kulsoom was a brave lady. The whole country is paying tribute to her political struggle and sacrifices for democracy and the country,” Mr Zardari said.
He said loss of Begum Kulsoom was a huge setback for the Sharif family. “We equally share the grief of the Sharif family and the PML-N,” he added.
Senators Raza Rabbani and Sherry Rehman, former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Farhatullah Babar, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Rehman Malik and Azizur Rehman Chan accompanied the PPP leaders.
Mr Zardari told Nawaz Sharif that he was in jail when his mother fell seriously ill. “I was offered parole that I refused. However, on the insistence of my sister I availed of myself the parole and met my mother. In my last meeting with my mother, she had tears in her eyes which still hurt me,” he said.
A PML-N leader quoted his party supremo as having said: “I regret that I was not with Kulsoom during the last days of her life.” He said practically he had been in a solitary confinement as rooms close to his barrack were empty. “I am allowed to meet with daughter Maryam once a week,” he added.
PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Husain, Moonis Elahi, Rasikh Elahi, Shafay Hussain and Salik Hussain also met PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif and his elder brother and offered condolences over her demise.
Mr Shujaat said Begum Kulsoom was a very sensible and courageous lady. “Her services for democracy and the country will be remembered forever,” he said and prayed for eternal peace for the departed soul and solace for the bereaved family.
Despite having strained relations with the Sharifs, the Chaudhrys of Gujarat had earlier on Friday attended the funeral of Begum Kulsoom.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider, Balochistan CM Jam Kamal and the Chinese consul general in Lahore, Long Dingbin, also called on the Sharif brothers to offer condolences.
Prominent among those who attended the Qul, at Jati Umra residence of the Sharifs were PML-N’s Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Tariq Fatemi, Khurram Dastgir, Rana Tanvir and Mohammad Mehdi, Syed Shahid, Sindh minister for agriculture Ismail Rahu and MNA Kheal Das Kohistani.
Begum Kulsoom had undergone several surgeries and chemotherapy treatment at a private hospital in London after being diagnosed with lymphoma (throat cancer) in August 2017. She suffered a heart attack in mid-June and was put on a life-support machine. In the first week of August, her condition improved and she was taken off from the ventilator. However, her condition deteriorated again on Sept 9 and she breathed her last on Sept 11.
Her sons Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz along with their uncle Shahbaz Sharif and other party leaders offered her funeral prayers in London before her body was shifted to Lahore. After her second funeral, which was attended by her husband, daughter and other relatives besides workers and leaders of various political parties, she was laid to rest near the graves of her father-in-law Mian Sharif and brother-in-law Abbas Sharif at Jati Umra on Sept 14.
Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2018