The wife of Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif died at a hospital in London Tuesday after months in critical condition, a spokeswoman said. She was 68.
Maryam Aurangzeb, spokeswoman for the Pakistan Muslim League party, told The Associated Press that Kulsoom Nawaz passed before dawn.
“We announce with pain, sorrow and grief that Kulsoom Nawaz is no more among us,” she said.
She said arrangements were being made to bring Nawaz’s body to Pakistan for burial.
Shortly after the announcement of her death, Pakistani TV stations showed Sharif’s two sons and other relatives and supporters standing grimly outside the London hospital and receiving condolences.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi, army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, and political leaders including political rival former president Asif Zardari expressed their sorrow over Nawaz’s death and conveyed their condolences to the family.
Nawaz was suffering from throat cancer and she underwent surgery at a hospital last year. Her condition deteriorated months ago.
Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were not present in London at the time of her death because both have been in prison in Pakistan since July when they returned home to serve their sentences in corruption cases.
Sharif appeared in court in Islamabad on Tuesday. He has applied for bail but a court is still to rule on his request. The government is likely to release Sharif and his daughter on parole to participate in Nawaz’s funeral, which has not yet been scheduled.
Mourners have started gathering outside Sharif’s residence in the eastern city of Lahore.
Sharif stepped down after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding office last year for concealing his assets abroad. Later, he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison over the family’s purchase of luxury apartments in London.
Associated Press reporter Zarar Khan in Islamabad contributed to this report.