Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of former Pakistani PM, dies in London

Former Pakistani first lady Begum Kulsoom Nawaz died Tuesday following a year of cancer treatment at a London clinic. She was 68.

Pakistani women hold photographs of former first lady Begum Kulsoom Nawaz in Multan, Pakistan, on June 17. Supporters expressed concern for the 68-year-old public figure as she underwent cancer treatment in London. Begum Kulsoom died Tuesday. File Photo by Faisal Kareem/EPA-EFE
Pakistani women hold photographs of former first lady Begum Kulsoom Nawaz in Multan, Pakistan, on June 17. Supporters expressed concern for the 68-year-old public figure as she underwent cancer treatment in London. Begum Kulsoom died Tuesday. File Photo by Faisal Kareem/EPA-EFE

Begum Kulsoom was the wife of Nawaz Sharif, who served three terms as Pakistan’s prime minister, most recently from 2013 to 2017. She was diagnosed with lymphoma in August 2017 and had received treatment for more than a year at the Harley Street Clinic in London.

The Sharif family said her body will be returned to Pakistan.

Begum Kulsoom was born in 1950 and was the granddaughter of legendary weight-lifter Ghulam Muhammad. She attended the Former Christian College in Lahore and received her master’s degree at Punjab University. She met Nawaz Sharif in 1971 and the couple married.

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General Qamar Javed Bajwa prayed for “eternal peace” for Begum Kulsoom.

Shehbaz Sharif, president of the right-wing Pakistan Muslim League and Nawaz’s younger brother, said Pakistan’s democratic process are indebted to the former first lady.

“An era has come to an end,” he said. “She played an exemplary role as a mother, sister, daughter and wife. She fought bravely in the most difficult times. Her death is a huge loss and I am in shock.”

ByNicholas Sakelaris