Pakistan's jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar reached Lahore in early hours of Wednesday after they were released from Adiala Jail Rawalpindi on a 12-hour parole to attend the funeral of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.
Kulsoom, the wife of Sharif, died Tuesday in London after a long battle with cancer. She was 68. Her body will be brought back to Lahore and buried in Jati Umra Lahore residence of the Sharif family.
Sharif and two others were transported to Jati Umra in a special plane from Nur Khan Airbase Rawalpindi in early hours of Wednesday after the Punjab government home department issued their release order for a 12-hour parole. The trio arrived at Lahore at 3.15 am Wednesday.
However, the parol of the three, accused in multiple corruption cases, is expected to be extended to five days as Kulsoom's body will arrive from London to Lahore on Friday and the government officials say that the family will be allowed to stay on parole till the end of last rituals on humanitarian grounds.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had ordered to facilitate the Sharif family regarding bringing back the body of Kulsoom and matters related to their parole.
Heavy contingent of police has been deployed at the Jati Umra to provide security to the Sharif family.
Kulsoom, who had been battling with lymphoma (throat cancer) for over a year, breathed her last at the London's Harley Street Clinic.
"Begum Kulsoom's condition deteriorated early in the morning on Tuesday. Doctors tried their best but couldn't save her life," Marriyum Aurangzeb said.
To a question whether her sons -- Hasan and Hussain -- would return to Lahore to attend her funeral prayer, she said: "No decision has been taken as yet."
It is likely that both sons may not return to Pakistan as they have been declared absconders by an accountability court in the off-shore properties case.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj wrote to Nawaz Sharif to express their condolences on the demise of his wife Begum Kulsoom Nawaz
"I am sorry to know about the sad demise of Mrs Kulsoom Nawaz. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. May her soul rest in peace," Swaraj tweeted.
The former first lady was diagnosed with lymphoma (throat) cancer in August last and had been in London since, where she underwent multiple surgeries and at least five chemotherapy sessions.
She was placed on a ventilator in June following a cardiac arrest. Her family reported a slight improvement in her condition on July 12, a day before her husband Sharif and Maryam were set to return to Pakistan after the accountability court sentenced them to jail.
She served as the first lady of Pakistan for three non-consecutive terms from 1990-1993, 1997-1999 and 2013-2017.
She also served as the president of the PML-N from 1999 to 2002, after her husband's government was toppled by former military dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf in a bloodless coup. She was also placed under house arrest following Sharif's ouster by Musharraf in 1999.
She led defiant, lonely protests against the Musharraf regime to get her husband freed from prison.
Kulsoom was elected to Lahore's NA-120 constituency in a by-poll after her husband was disqualified from the seat by the Supreme Court last year. Due to her illness, she was unable to return and formally take oath for the seat.
She was born in 1950 in Lahore to a Kashmiri family. She graduated from the Forman Christian College in Lahore and received a Master's degree in Urdu from Punjab University in 1970.
From her maternal side, she was granddaughter of famous wrestler of the sub-continent Gama Pehlwan. Kulsoom married Sharif in April 1971 and they have four children - Hassan, Hussain, Maryam and Asma.
(With PTI inputs)