Kulsoom Nawaz (29th March, 1950-11th September, 2018)

Dubbed by the PML-N party-workers as the Mother of Democracy, Kulsoom Nawaz will be remembered as a gentle and cultured matriarch. Her steadfastness and service for her family, the party and the country earned her respect from friends and foes alike.

As wife of a prime minister, political leader and party head, her role wasn’t unlike many other First Ladies in the country. She was a devout homemaker who mostly took a back seat in the family’s political vocation and stayed away from the limelight. However, Kulsoom’s life shows spurs of political agency where she acts to support her husband and her party to harness the democratic spirit in the country especially the darkest decade after the General Musharraf coup in year 2000 that forces the Sharif clan to go into a political exile.

She is remembered for upping the ante in times of crises when she tries to spearhead the rally protesting General Musharraf’s coup against her husband’s government in year 2000. Her car speeds through the police cordon around her house only to be intercepted after a substantive police chase. But the lady refuses to cave in and leave the vehicle. The impasse stays for 10 hours and the law enforcement call in a crane to lift the vehicle to the police station with her firmly seated inside.

She is seen playing the role of an emissary to mediate with members and politicians and advises her husband on political matters. Political analysts term her role as key in the formation of the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD). Aided by Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, she decides on a course to convince her husband to take a step forward and align with major parties to resist the dictatorship amidst strong opposition from within the PML-N cadres. Her resolve makes it possible for PML-N to work with Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and paves the way for the Charter of Democracy later in 2006, signed between the two parties which were usually at variance with each other.

Post disqualification Kulsoom Nawaz is proffered as a natural successor to Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif to contest the bye-election for the seat he had to vacate after the JIT’s decision. Word is also in the air to make her party head. However, failing health takes her to Britain for care where she is diagnosed with Lymphoma.

Born in 1950 in a Kashmiri family from Amritsar, Begum Sahiba, as she is fondly called in Pakistan, was raised for the life of position. Her impressive family lineage includes her father, a physician, Mohammad Hafeez Butt and maternal grandfather Rustam-e-Zaman Gama Pehalwan, the world famous wrester.

The three-time First Lady was educated from Islamia College and graduated from Forman Christian College. She completed her Masters in Urdu Literature from Oriental College after marrying Mian Nawaz Sharif in 1971 and later continued on to a PhD in Philosophy.

The messages in memoriam celebrate her gentle candour and courage.

Kulsoom Nawaz passed away on 11th September 2018 from Lymphoma. She is survived by husband Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif and four children Maryam, Asma, Hassan and, Hussain.

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