LAHORE: Begum Shamim Akhtar, the mother of deposed prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif and party’s president Shahbaz Sharif, was laid to rest next to her husband, Mian Sharif, at the family’s Jati Umra estate in Lahore on Sunday.
The funeral was held after Zuhr at the Sharif Medical City in Raiwind. Apart from family members, scores of party workers and leaders including Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, Rana Sanaullah, Ayaz Sadiq, Khawaja Asif attended the funeral. Religious scholar Raghib Naeemi led the prayer.
Shahbaz and his son Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shahbaz, who are facing prison in a number of graft cases, were also in attendance. They were released on five-day parole on Friday to attend Akhtar’s final rites.
Strict security arrangements were made for the funeral and the main road leading to Jati Umra was cordoned off.
Akhtar, who was in her 90s, passed away in London on November 22. She travelled to the British capital in February “to be with her son while he undergoes heart treatment” and had since been living there. According to the PML-N leadership, she was not well for the last one month.
Her body was brought back to Lahore early Saturday morning through a British Airways flight and received by Shahbaz at the Allama Iqbal Airport.
Nawaz, who is residing in London since November last on the pretext of medical treatment, did not return to join the funeral, citing medical reasons. He prayed for the departed soul in a small congregation at the London Central Mosque.
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Nawaz, 70, was handed a seven-year prison sentence after a conviction for corruption in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case in 2018. He was granted conditional bail on medical grounds to seek treatment abroad. He has, however, refused to return.
He also missed his father’s funeral in 2004 when, according to the family said, he was denied permission to return to his country from exile in Saudi Arabia by the government of the day.