It seems the testing times are not over for the ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz. The wife of Nawaz Sharif and the ex-first Lady of Pakistan Kulsoom Nawaz died in London after battling with the disease of throat cancer. Kulsoom Nawaz was born in 1950 in the city of Lahore in Pakistan. She graduated from Forman Christan College Lahore and received a PhD degree in Philosophy. She had a profound taste for literature and Philosophy and was known for her good taste of literature in the literary circles. Her resistance against the Martial Law of General Pervaiz Musharraf made her an icon of civilian and democratic supremacy. General Musharraf staged a coup against Nawaz Sharif in 1999 and sent him behind the bars along with his younger brother. It was a time when the closest of Sharif's political aides left the party to avoid the wrath of the military dictator. Kulsoom at that time of crisis assumed the charge of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) as its president and started a countrywide protest movement against the dictator. She also brought different political parties under the platform of Grand Democratic Alliance. with the help of late Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan. It was her untiring efforts and resistance that forced Musharaf to make a deal with Sharif and as a result, Sharif was freed from the bars and sent into exile in Saudia Arabia.
Kulsoom Nawaz always had an impact on Sharif's decision and she actually improved his political acumen by giving him the right advice at the right time. She also nurtured her daughter Maryam Nawaz into a political leader and she convinced Sharif to make her the part of the decision making in the party affairs. As a first lady Kulsoom always led a low profile life with most of her time was spent on doing philanthropist work. She was known in her circle as the lady who will never step back from helping the needy people and to fight for the right of oppressed. In the missing bloggers case she played a vitol role in their recovery on the insistment of late Asma Jahangir. She decided to return to the mainstream politics after her husband Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the court for the corruption charges and she fought the by-elections from the National Assembly seat vacated by her husband and won the elections, but during the process she was diagnosed with the throat cancer and left to London for the treatment. Her election campaign was run by her daughter Maryam Nawaz and eventually Kulsoom even in her absence managed to win the elections but due to her illness, she was not able to take the oath as a member of parliament. It was also speculated that Sharif was again making her the president of his party PML-N but her illness prevented him to take this decision.
During her illness Kulsoom Nawaz fought a three dimensional war she fought with the cancer, she faced the criticism from the political opponents that she was staging a drama of her illness in order to get sympathy of vote bank for her husband and daughter, and on the other hand she had to stay strong to motivate her husband and daughter to take on the worst of the battle on the power chessboard. It was never an easy battle as going against the deep state in Pakistan means risking life and everything. In the month of June this year, Kalsoom Nawaz suffered a cardiac arrest and was shifted to the ventilator. It was a time when Sharif and his daughter Maryam were holding successful public gatherings across the country.
Kulsoom serious health condition forced both father and daughter to immediately leave for London and take care of her. This left a vaccum and halted the momentum created by Sharif and Maryam for the PML-N. On the other hand, PTI supporters started the propaganda that Kulsoom was not ill and her illness was termed as a political stunt to gain sympathy from the voters. The judiciary already hostile to Sharif also passed negative comments about the illness of Kulsoom when Sharif and his daughter requested them first to allow them to see her and then to delay their verdict until few weeks so they can spend the crucial moments with Kulsoom Nawaz. The electronic and print media also started a propaganda campaign on the illness of Kulsoom and termed it as a drama and resultantly, a perception was created that both Sharif and Maryam were exploiting Kulsoom's illness as a delaying tactic and to avoid the possible arrests. Though Kulsoom Nawaz illness was genuine and both Sharif and Maryam were with her for a genuine reason but the propaganda spread the by the political opponents and few of the Tv anchors overshadowed the fact. Sharif was left with no option but to leave Kulsoom on the ventilator in London and to come back to Pakistan to present arrest in order to save his political party which was under wrath. Leaving an ailing wife or a sick mother was never an easy decision and much to the credit of both Sharif and Maryam they took this difficult decision and went behind the bars.
Kulsoom's role in fighting for democratic supremacy, convincing Sharif to shun his conservative approach of politics, her affection, and love with her party workers and in shaping Maryam Nawaz as a political leader will always be remembered. A glimpse of her 'never say die' attitude and political acumen can be seen in her daughter Maryam Nawaz, who was groomed by Kulsoom Nawaz. Such was her caliber that even her staunch opponents respected her for the political wisdom, intellectual level and her polite way of dealing. At the same time, she had the flair and ability to challenge the strongest of the enemy without any fear and we saw it when she took on the General Pervaiz Musharaf.
She was mocked during her illness and even after the death. However, she never replied her critics and opponents back, as she knew that they all were dwarfs and they were trying to drag her to their level. The irony is that Kulsoom Nawaz had to die in order to prove that she was really ill and it was her graceful silence towards the critics that actually showed how low we have fallen as a society. One wonders when we will be able to understand the human tragedies and learn to share the grief of each other without being divided on the political basis. As far as Kulsoom Nawaz is concerned she must be smiling from heavens while looking down as she achieved the fate of a successful mother, a successful wife and moreover she was able to make her name included in the list of the women like Nusrat Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, and Asma Jahangir, who fought for the democratic supremacy and Kulsoom will always be remembered along with them as an icon of resistance against the dictatorship.