Begum Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif (29 March 1950 – 11 September 2018) was a Pakistani politician who had been the first lady of Pakistan for three non-consecutive terms; from 1990 to 1993, 1997 to 1999 and then from 2013 to 2017. She was the President of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) from 1999 to 2002. She was born to a Kashmiri family in 1950 in Lahore and tied the knot with Nawaz Sharif in 1971.
She was the granddaughter of the well-acclaimed wrestler ’The Great Gama’ who was the best wrestlers in the history of Sub-Continent.
She attended Islamia College and graduated from the Forman Christian College in Lahore. She received a master’s degree in Urdu from the University of the Punjab in 1970. She also received a PhD in philosophy.
She married Nawaz Sharif, the three-time Prime Minister of Pakistan, in April 1971.
Throwback: Nawaz Sharif and Begum Kulsoom Nawaz marriage
Political struggle with her husband
Her political career and factual struggle started during the second tenure of Nawaz Sharif when his confrontation with the army establishment intensified. During the military coup d’état against him on 12 October 1999, she was put behind bars by the military dictator Pervez Musharraf.
Nawaz Sharif announced her President of Pakistan Muslim League in 1999 and she remained there till 2002. Maryam Nawaz expressed her feelings concerning her mother in the following words: “She dauntlessly challenged the usurper when a lot of men backed out.”
In 2000, she led a public rally from Lahore to Peshawar to gather the public support for the PML-N. Soon after leaving her residence, her car was surrounded by the police and she was detained.
She was elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan for the first time from NA-120 (Lahore-III) as a candidate of PML (N) in by-polls held in September 2017. She secured 59,413 votes and defeated Yasmin Rashid of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. The NA-120 seat fell vacant after her husband, Nawaz Sharif, was disqualified by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Begum Kulsoom Nawaz – A Mother
Begum Kulsoom Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif have 4 children, Maryam, Asma, Hassan and Hussain. Maryam Nawaz is emerging as a brave politician.
Fight with illness and death later on
In August 2017, Kulsoom Nawaz was diagnosed with blood cancer and was admitted to hospital in London.
She suffered a cardiac arrest in June 2018 which put her on ventilator.
Nawaz Sharif had to leave her in hospital and get back to Pakistan due to his court cases.
Begum Kulsoom Nawaz breathed her last on Sept. 11. Her demise ended her months-long battle with cancer. That was not the only front she had to battle on during her life; her life is replete with persistent struggle.
History will always remember her as an unassuming yet resilient figure who never caved in to the opposing currents. She was a politician more to circumstances than by choice. However, the fact did not let her resolve to waver in her battle for democracy.
Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz breaking into tears bidding her farewell.
She died on the 11 September 2018 at the age of 68 in London while both her husband Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam were serving jail terms. Her husband and daughter were granted timed-parole in order to attend her funeral.