Begum Kulsoom Nawaz is no more. Although she was not very active in politics in recent years, her support for Nawaz Sharif and the family was a matter of forte for them while her support and advice helped the leading political family of Pakistan to make important decisions.
Her daughter Maryam Nawaz and husband Nawaz Sharif were on their way to London in July to meet her when she suffered cardiac attack and was admitted to hospital in a critical condition.
Her tweet, “Ammi had a sudden cardiac arrest when we were on the flight & is in ICU & on the ventilator. Earnest request for dua,” clearly shows the pain she must have gone through.
Her first thought must have been that if she had made it some hours earlier, she would have been able to talk to her mother. Maryam and her father came back to Pakistan to fight their legal and political battle. Begum Kalsoom did not regain consciousness during their stay in London. The general elections were around the corner and they came back to help their party win and what they called to give respect to vote.
Maryam had shown the same spirit as her mother when she ran a successful campaign to get her mother elected from NA-120 in the by-election.
One can imagine Maryam’s thoughts when she was on her way back from London in July, but what despair she must have faced on hearing about her death.
It is pertinent to mention here that Begum Kulsoom was diagnosed with lymphoma (throat cancer) in August 2017. Since then she had been undergoing chemotherapy sessions. On June 14, 2018, she was taken to hospital and put on life-supporting machine, ventilator.
The realpolitik of Pakistan has been chequered for most part of its history. Even health and family matters sometimes come under criticism by the media. It is not something that one should engage in. In case of Begum Kulsoom, however, all the politicians and rivals prayed for her health and everyone expressed grief on her death and offered condolences.
In the last days of her life she went through agony of being a cancer patient and developed other medical disorders. She braved them with calmness and fortitude that could be seen on her face when she met her daughter Maryam and husband earlier this year.
Begum Kulsoom was the first lady of Pakistan for three non-consecutive times. She always stood shoulder to shoulder with her husband. In all the times of crises she stood like a firm rock. She remained the party president from 1999 to 2002. She led the party from the front and provided a strong opposition to Pervez Musharraf. She was a true believer of democracy. May her soul rest in peace.