Tributes pour in for Kulsoom ‘the lady who took on the dictator’

Islamabad: Pakistan’s civil society, rights activists, media and general public paid rich tributes to Kulsoom Nawaz for her brave struggle against former military dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, when he latter deposed her husband Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in October 1999 and threw him in jail.

Kulsoom single-handedly led the struggle for restoring democracy in the country, facing odds of all kinds, and brought the resistance movement to a point that Musharraf was forced to negotiate for Nawaz’s release.

The masses in Pakistan on Friday remained glued to their television screens, watching the last journey of a brave woman who gave up her life as a homemaker and took on the dictator of the day.

She was a symbol of resistance and a source of inspiration and strength for her husband during his days in exile, said senior journalist Sohail Warraich, speaking to Gulf News.

She gave strength not only to Sharif but also to her children, Hussain, Hassan, Maryam and Asma also, during the dark days of dictatorship, said Warraich.

Warraich was of the view that if Kulsoom hadn’t been there, Sharif’s ordeal might have prolonged and his release have had little chances.

She siglehandedly united a fragmented, disarrayed opposition into an alliance for democracy, creating an environment for it nationally and internationally, so much so that Musharraf had to release the former prime minister and accept Kulsoom as a real opposition leader.

In Islamabad and Rawalpindi, thousands of people, students, office workers, shopkeepers, traders and transporters, medical staff and patients, lawyers and clients — in short, people from all walks of life sat before their TV sets, watching her final prayers being led by eminent religious scholar Maulana Tariq Jamil, in the Sharif City Complex ground.

Talking to Gulf News, Supreme Court of Pakistan’s senior lawyer Hafiz Arfat Ahmed said the nation is mourning a brave lady and role model for many emerging politicians, particularly the women.

“She immortalised the politics of resistance by the dint of her character and conviction,” said Arfat.

A representative of civil society and a climate advocacy specialist, Munir Ahmed said Kulsoom knew her role exactly, according to the situation. She took care of her family and her husband’s peace of mind was her top priority.

She supported him as First Lady of Pakistan and never meddled in politics, but when it was required of her, she took on the role as politician for the sake of Pakistan, leading the masses.

Afshan Farooqi, a housewife, said though she did not agree with Sharif’s politics but did admire his wife and her devotion to her husband and her country.


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