Pakistani women

10 Pakistani women who made headlines and for good reason

KARACHI: From ASP Shehrbano’s courageous intervention in Lahore to avert a potential disaster to Nadia Jamil’s brutal protest against child sexual abuse, to businesswoman Shaista Asif’s recognition by Forbes, the years 2023–2024 were marked by strong women who were determined to change the world. Join us to discover the inspiring stories of these women, who, through their courage and achievements, are helping to reshape the narrative of women’s roles in Pakistan.

1. ASP Shehrbano Naqvi

ASP Shehrbano Naqvi

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Shehrbano Naqvi, stationed at Gulberg Circle, bravely foiled a possible mob attack on a young woman in Lahore. The incident, sparked by confusion and misunderstanding over the Arabic calligraphy on the woman’s dress, was skillfully defused by the police officer. She declined to reveal the woman’s identity, saying the calligraphy did not contain any Quranic verses and belonged to the brand of a foreign Muslim country. From the internet to local and international media, ASP Shehrbano has become a figure of courage and hope in a society where patriarchal violence and the audacity to point the finger at women’s clothing remain a worrying reality.

2. Maryam Nawaz

Maryam Nawaz

As the 2024 general elections concluded with the final results, Maryam Nawaz, a prominent leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), was elected chief minister of Punjab – the first woman to hold the post in the country. Maryam secured a landslide victory by defeating Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed candidate Rana Aftab Ahmad Khan by a whopping 220 votes. Although mired in deep controversy and manipulated accusations, Maryam’s victory was hailed by many as an unprecedented victory for women and a step forward for gender mainstreaming in Pakistani politics.

3. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the acclaimed Pakistani filmmaker behind the Oscar-winning documentaries ‘Saving Face’ and ‘A Girl in the River’, will direct a new Star Wars film, marking a groundbreaking moment for the franchise. The film from Obaid-Chinoy, who co-wrote the screenplay with Damon Lindelof, is set after the events of Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker and features Daisy Ridley reprising her role as Rey. This project makes Sharmeen the first woman and person of color to direct a Star Wars film, adding several milestones for the iconic franchise.

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4. Nadia Jamil

Nadia Jamil

Famous Pakistani actress Nadia Jamil has made a name for herself in showbiz through her craft, but her wonders extend beyond the screen. With her candid stories about her painful experiences with child sexual abuse, the actress has made it her mission to shed light on the current social issue. Nadia emphasizes the need for awareness, prevention and support for survivors, highlighting the grim reality she, like countless others, has faced. Revealing her traumatic experience and the healing process that followed, the actress highlighted how the CSA rose to prominence in light of the Kasur incident, inspiring people to speak out and come forward with action prevention practices including poverty alleviation, education, social awareness campaigns and teaching children about boundaries.

5. Mahrang Baloch

Mahrang Baloch

The long march of the Baloch Yekjehti Committee (BYC) from Turbat to the provincial capital to protest the alleged extrajudicial killing of Balach Baloch by officials of the Mahrang Baloch-led Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) attracted international attention as images of Baton’s accusations and arrests were distributed. seen by Baloch protesters. A general surgeon and human rights activist by profession, Mahrang has become the face of a long-running movement demanding justice for enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Balochistan. Even Joona singer Hasan Raheem expressed solidarity and called Mahrang a “true hero”.

6. Naila Kiani

Naila Kiani, a former aerospace engineer, banker and mother of two, achieved remarkable mountaineering feats in 2023, becoming one of seven mountaineers in the world to climb multiple peaks in just six months. Kiani’s achievements, which include climbing Mount Everest, K2, Lhotse, Nanga Parbat and many others, were recognized by the President of Pakistan in December 2021. Her determination and achievements make her a role model for aspiring mountain climbers and adventurers – as well as women everywhere.

7. Namira Saleem

Namira Saleem

Namira Saleem has become the first Pakistani to reach space as part of Virgin Galactic’s Galactic 04 mission. Karachi-born Namira, founder of Space Trust, had previously visited the North and South Poles. The mission, launched from Spaceport America in New Mexico, took them and other space tourists on a suborbital journey where they experienced weightlessness and observed Earth in the context of space. Namira carried the Pakistani flag, which symbolized the country’s entry into space exploration. The show is sure to be magical for many Pakistani children who hope to become astronauts or simply an adventurer.

8. Erica Robin

Erica Robin

In a historic moment, Pakistan participated in the Miss Universe pageant for the first time, with Erica Robin representing the country. Despite the negative reactions, Erica was among the top 20 participants at the event in San Salvador, El Salvador. The 24-year-old, who hails from Karachi and belongs to a Christian family, expressed her pride in representing Pakistan but responded to the criticism, saying it was based on misconceptions about the beauty pageant as she faced the various trials with grace. flawless style.

9. Mussarat Hilali

Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Mussarat Hilali was sworn in as a Supreme Court judge in July last year, becoming the second woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court after Justice Ayesha Malik. Peshawar-born Justice Hilali’s other impressive milestones include becoming the first woman Additional Advocate General of K-P and the first woman Chairman of the Environment Protection Tribunal of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa from November 2001 to March 2004. She was also the first female mediator for protection against harassment of people. women in the workplace.

10. Shaista Asif

Shaista Asif is the co-founder and CEO of PureHealth Holding Group, a well-known healthcare network in the UAE, and is ranked fourth in the prestigious Forbes list of “100 Most Influential Businesswomen in the Middle East in 2024”. Forbes highlights PureHealth Holding’s groundbreaking $986 million initial public offering (IPO) on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange in December 2023. The IPO, which was oversubscribed 54 times in the professional tranche and 483 times in the private tranche, reflects the solid growth of the company. . Shaista played a key role in establishing the company in 2006 and assumed the role of Group CEO in December 2023, leading the company to new heights.