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India’s Modi Condoles Death of Nawaz Sharif’s Mother

by Newsweek Pakistan

File photo from Modi’s trip to Lahore. Courtesy PID

In letter, Indian prime minister recalls meeting Begum Shamim Akhtar during his 2015 visit to Pakistan

In a letter addressed to ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the death of Begum Shamim Akhtar, saying he was “deeply saddened” to learn of her demise.

Sharif’s mother, Shamim Akhtar died in London on Nov. 22 at the age of 89. Her body was flown back to Pakistan, where she has been buried next to her husband, Mohammad Sharif. Local media has claimed the letter was delivered to Maryam Nawaz by the Indian High Commission on Dec. 11.

In his letter, dated Nov. 27, the Indian prime minister said he was “deeply saddened” to learn about the demise of Sharif’s mother. “My heartfelt condolence are with you this hour of intense grief,” he added.

“I recall my interaction with her during my brief visit to Lahore in 2015,” he wrote. “Her simplicity and warmth was indeed very touching,” he added.

The letter also prays for the departed soul to rest in peace. “In this moment of profound grief, I pray to the Almighty to bestow strength upon you and your family to bear this irreparable loss,” it adds.

Sharif, sentenced to jail- in a graft case, has been in London since he was given a one-time permission by the government last year to go abroad for treatment of his illness. However, he has refused to return to serve out his jail term, citing health risks, resulting in the courts declaring him a “proclaimed offender” in other cases pending against him.

Modi made a brief surprise visit to Lahore in December 2015, where he was received by Sharif. Both leaders had flown to Raiwind from the airport in a helicopter, where the Indian leader briefly attended the wedding ceremony of Sharif’s granddaughter. The two leaders also held a brief meeting before Modi departed for New Delhi.

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