ISLAMABAD/LAHORE, Oct 29: Mian Mohammad Sharif, the father of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, expired in Jeddah on Friday. He was 85. Family sources told Dawn from Jeddah that Mian Sharif's condition had deteriorated at about 8pm Saudi time (10pm PST). He was rushed to United Doctor's Hospital in the port city where he was pronounced dead at 9pm.

His funeral prayers would be offered in Masjid-i-Haram, Makkah, on Saturday (today). Though the place of burial was yet to be decided, a source in the Sharif family said they had started making arrangements for the burial of the elder Sharif in his hometown Raiwind near Lahore in keeping with his last wishes.

Sharif family sources in Jeddah said that they had not yet decided about who would approach the Pakistan government for permission to bring the body to Pakistan. Mian Sharif, who was said to be the brain behind Main Nawaz Sharif's policy decisions as prime minister, migrated to Lahore 68 years ago from Jati Umra, India, in 1936.

He set up a small steel business on the Brandreth Road which grew into a giant conglomerate in the shape of the Ittefaq group. FIA arrested him in a loan default case during Mian Manzoor Wattoo's rule in the Punjab.

Meanwhile, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad told a private TV channel that the government would consider granting permission if a request was received from the Sharif family. The entire Sharif family had been exiled to Saudi Arabia on Dec 10, 2000.

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