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Ahead of arrest, photo of Nawaz Sharif with ailing wife Kulsoom evokes sympathy in Pakistan

The former premier and his daughter, Maryam, are expected to be taken into custody as soon as they land at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport around 6.15 pm on Friday.

world Updated: Jul 13, 2018 16:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Nawaz Sharif,Pakistan,Maryam
Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif with his wife Kulsoom Sharif in the hospital while his daughter Maryam looks on. (PKPolitics/Twitter)

A photograph of former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam, visiting Begum Kulsoom Nawaz – his ailing wife – in a London hospital has struck a chord with many netizens in the country ahead of their imminent arrest upon arrival in Lahore.

Sharif and Maryam are expected to land at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport around 6.15 pm on Friday.

The image, tweeted by a Pakistani journalist, shows Sharif keeping his hand on Kulsoom’s forehead even as Maryam weeps in the backdrop. “This picture will haunt many in the future,” the caption of the photograph, which was later retweeted by Maryam, read.

The former premier’s wife, being treated at the Harley Street Clinic, had been in a comatic state for over a month. The photograph evoked sympathy among netizens in the country even as the country’s administration prepared to arrest Sharif and his daughter “as soon as they enter Pakistani territory”. Some even claimed that the image showcased the “ugliest face of the Pakistani establishment in a hundred years”.

On July 6, Sharif was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and fined eight million pounds by an Islamabad court over the alleged purchase of high-end properties in London. Maryam, on the other hand, was sentenced to seven years in jail and fined two million pounds by the accountability court.

However, the premier remained defiant in the face of his tribulations. “Despite seeing the bars of prison in front of my eyes, I am going to Pakistan,” he said at a conference held by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party in London before leaving for the airport. “Put Nawaz Sharif in prison for life, send him to the gallows, but you will have to answer the questions that the people of Pakistan are asking.”

According to an AFP report, his supporters responded with cries of “Nawaz Sharif, we love you!”

However, bad as things may be for Sharif’s family, there still appears to be a silver lining. ANI reported Kulsoom’s son, Hussain Nawaz, as stating that she had finally opened her eyes after over a month.

“My mother has opened her eyes after exactly one month. I don’t have anything else to share. Her sedatives were being reduced,” said Hussain, requesting the people to remember her in their prayers.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Jul 13, 2018 15:50 IST