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Begum Kulsoom Nawaz laid to rest

15 September, 2018

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Lahore: Former first lady Begum Kulsoom Nawaz was laid to rest at her family’s Jati Umra estate on Friday after a funeral prayer attended by hundreds of thousands of people, including leaders of ruling and opposition parties and workers of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

The prayer was led by Tableegi Jamaat’s Maulana Tariq Jameel, who was driven to the venue, Sharif Medical Complex, by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar have been released from Adiala Jail on parole to join Begum Kulsoom’s burial rites. Nawaz’s younger brother and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif also came in the same car.

In view of the large number of people gathering for the prayers, Tariq Jameel stepped out of the car and led the prayer standing next to the door, as the Sharif brothers stood behind him, in the first row.

PML-N workers arrived from across the country in groups, particularly from the party’s strongholds of Gujranwala, Sheikhupura and its adjoining areas, as well as Faisalabad, Peshawar, Abbotabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Swat, Multan and Bahawalpur.

Many remained unable to join the prayer congregation as traffic moved slowly on the road leading to the venue. At one moment, there were vehicles on around three to four kilometres patch of the road, starting from the entrance to the Sharif Medical Complex.

Many emotional and somber scenes were seen at the funeral as a large number of PML-N workers cried, while raising slogans in favour of Begum Kulsoom, who remained at the forefront of the struggle against the dictatorial regime of General (retd) Pervaiz Musharaf.

“Madr-e-Jamhoriyat…Al-vidah Al-vidah” (Mother of Democracy… Farewell) slogans were raised soon after the funeral prayer ended and the coffin was taken for burial at Jati Umra.

A large number of PML-N workers accompanied the ambulance, carrying the coffin and members of the Sharif family.

The burial at Jati Umra took place in the presence of members of the Sharif family and Tariq Jameel.

The delegation of Pakistan People’s Party comprised former prime ministers Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Yousuf Raza Gillani, Khursheed Shah,

Qamar Zaman Kaira, Naveed Qamar, Ali Haider Gillani, Azizur Rehman Chan and Naveed Chaudhry. National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Punjab Chaudhry GovernorSarwar, provincial ministers Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed and Feyazul Hasan Chohan represented the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Zahid Khan and former Khyber Pakhtukhwa chief minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti came to the funeral from the Awami National Party. Punjab Assembly speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Senator Kamil Ali Agha and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party’s Mehmood Khan Achakzai also attended the funeral.

Other prominent figures who were also present in the funeral includes: former president Mamnoon Hussain, Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, AJK President Masood Khan, Aftab Sherpao, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Hasil Bizenjo, Rana Sanaullah, Khawaja Asif, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Rana Iqbal, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Khurram Dastagir Khan, Hamza Shehbaz, Mayor Lahore Capt retd Mubashar, Mayor Islamabad Sheikh Ansar Aziz, Amir Muqam, Dr Musadiq Malik, Ahsan Iqbal, Raja Zafar ul Haq, Javaid Hashmi, Mushahid Ullah Khan, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Dr Farooq Sattar, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and large number of former federal and provincial ministers and some Saudi and Qatri notables. Some PML-N workers also protested on the occasion and had a scuffle with the security personnel as they were not allowed to enter the VIP queues. “I came here all the way from Karachi only to condole with Nawaz Sharif who is my leader,” said Saifullah Niazi, while talking to Daily Times. He was of the view that Nawaz Sharif brought peace to Karachi as ‘dozens of innocent people used to be murdered before his government but Sharif tried hard to bring peace to the business hub of Pakistan’.

Malik Saud, who came from Bahawalpur, said that he and other workers were standing with Nawaz Sharif in this time of sorrow. “We are here to acknowledge Nawaz Sharif’s services for Pakistan,” he said, adding that Begum Kulsoom had struggled to restore democracy in the country.

After the funeral, many PML-N workers started chanting slogans demanding the cancellation of Nawaz and Maryam’s sentences.

They kept chanting “Sharam Karo.. Heya Karo.. Nawaz Sharif ko Reha Karo” [Have some shame, release Nawaz Sharif]. As the sloganeering continued, some PML-N workers started raising slogans alleging that the July 25 elections were rigged by the security establishment. Their innovative slogans targeted Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa and Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar. Filled with emotions, the party workers maintained that the PML-N’s mandate had been stolen.

The provincial government has increased the duration of the Sharifs’ parole for another 72 hours. It will now end on Monday evening, enabling them to attend Qul prayers for Begum Kulsoom after Asar prayers on Sunday evening.

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