Nafisa Shah

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Nafisa Shah
Vice-President Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

former chair, National Commission of Human Development of Pakistan

Constituency Khairpur Mirs
Personal details
Born 20 January 1968
Sukkur Sindh Pakistan
Citizenship Pakistani
Political party Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)
Residence Jilani House, Khairpur Mirs

Nafisa Shah (Urdu: نفيسہ شاہ‎) is a Member of National Assembly (MNA) from Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) and Vice-President of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). During the tenure of Pakistan's PPP-led coalition government (2008–2013), Shah served as chair of the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) and General Secretary of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus. She has also been a member of parliamentary standing committees on Finance, Minorities, Economic Affairs and Statistics.[1]

Shah frequently writes for publications such as The Express Tribune and The News. Her opinions are often solicited on news channels including Dawn TV, ARY News, Express 24/7, GEO News Business Plus, Samaa TV, Dunya TV, BBC, CNN and others.

Formerly, Shah was the Nazim (mayor) of Khairpur District.

Education and personal life[edit]

Nafisa Shah was born on 20 January 1968 in Sukkur to Husn Afroze Brohi Shah and Syed Qaim Ali Shah Jilani.

She completed her O-Levels at St. Joseph's Convent School and A-Levels at Karachi Grammar School. Upon finishing her undergraduate studies, Shah worked with Newsline and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute

Her reporting on environmental problems, development and gender issues won her acclaim at home and abroad. In 1993, Shah received All-Pakistan Newspaper Society's Best Article of the Year award[2] and was included on United Nations' Global Roll of Honour.[3]

In recognition of her groundbreaking research work, Nafisa Shah was admitted as a Chevening Scholar to the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oxford.[4] After completing her Masters in Social and Cultural Anthropology, Shah enrolled in a doctoral program in Anthropology.[5]

Upon returning to Pakistan in 2000 for her field research on Karo Kari (honour killings) in upper Sindh, Shah was drawn into active politics. She contested Khairpur's local elections and won.[6] From then on, she has worked as a committed public representative.[7]

After spending 10 years conducting research, Shah completed her doctoral thesis on "Honour Violence, Law and Power: A Case Study of Karo Kari in Upper Sindh" at the University of Oxford in 2010. According to news sources, the examiners praised the quality of her PhD thesis and "said that the argument and the data mustered to support the theses were original, persuasive and lucidly and coherently presented[8]” Her book on the topic is under publication.

Public life[edit]

Nafisa Shah spent her childhood and teenage years actively participating in her father's election campaigns along with her siblings. Later, she volunteered with former Prime Minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, conducting research for speeches and dealing with policy matters.

Victory during the 2001 local elections for Khairpur's Nazim (mayor-ship) enabled Shah to implement her vision for inclusive, community supported development. By launching a successful hepatitis vaccination drive and building several schools, hospitals, museums and recreation centres, Shah set the benchmark high for her contemporaries and successors.

Later, she was appointed the chair of Pakistan’s National Commission for Human Development (NCHD). Discharging her responsibilities, Shah has built schools, adult literacy centres, vocational training institutes and relief camps for people displaced by floods and internal warfare. Her organisation functions as a vital bridge between public and private sectors, enabling Pakistan achieve Millennium Development Goals.[9]

For her public work, decorations and awards have followed by the dozen. Most notably, she was identified as a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum in 2005[10] and included in Newsweek Pakistan’s “100 Women Who Shake Pakistan” in 2011.[11]

Notable awards[edit]

Guest lectures[edit]

  • Chief Guest at International Women's Day Celebration, Aurat Foundation[12]
  • Chief guest at First Women's Bank corporate documentary launch, 2010[13]
  • Chief guest at Asia South Pacific Association for Basic Adult Education (ASPBAE) and BUNYAD Foundation's “Gender Equality in Education” report launch, 2011
  • Chief guest at Debate Contest for Allama Iqbal Shield, 2011[14] she is also the daughter of syed Qaim Ali Shah the chief Minister of Sindh.
  • Chief guest at "Women in Leadership and Management in Higher Education”, organised by National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in collaboration with Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) and Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).[15]
  • Chief guest at a workshop on conserving Sindh’s Cultural Heritage organised by Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai University in collaboration with the Endowment Fund Trust, Unesco, Higher Education Commission (HEC) Islamabad and the Khairpur district government, 2010.[16]
  • Chief guest at Advanced Diploma Graduation Ceremony, Aga Khan University, 2010[17]
  • Chief guest at Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (SOGP) biennial conference, 2009


  • Shah, Nafisa. 2012. "The Prime Minister's Contempt Case" in The Express Tribune. Print.[18]
  • Shah, Nafisa. 2012. "Gilani's dismissal – of Law and Politics" in The Express Tribune. Print[19]
  • Shah, Nafisa. 2010. Honour Violence, Law and Power: A Study of Karo Kari in Upper Sindh. Oxford University Press
  • Shah, Nafisa. 2009. “Recruiting Women in Community Oriented Policing” in The News. Print[20]
  • Shah, Nafisa. 2008. “The Politics of being Asif Zardari” in The News. Print.[21]
  • Shah, Nafisa. 2008. A Tribute to Benazir Bhutto. Online[22]
  • Shah, Nafisa. 2007. 'Making of Crime, Custom and Culture: The Case of Karo Kari Killings of Upper Sindh' in Scratching the Surface: Democracy, Traditions and Gender. Heinrich Böll Foundation Lahore:2007. Print.[23]
  • Shah, Nafisa. 2006. 'Commercial Marriages of Girls' in The News. Print: Islamabad
  • Shah, Nafisa. April 1998. A story in black: Karo Kari Killings in upper Sindh", Reuters Foundation
  • Shah, Nafisa. 1998. Blood, tears and lives to live: Women in the cross-fire, a study for Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Book. 100-409-076
  • Shah, Nafisa. 2003. 'Role of the Community in Honour Killings in Sindh' from Engendering the Nation-State. Lahore: Simorgh Publications.
  • Shah, Nafisa. 1998. “War Against Women” in Newsline. Print.
  • Shah, Nafisa. 1998. `Faislo: The Informal Settlement System and Crimes Against Women in Sindh’ in Shaping Women’s Lives: Laws, Practices and Strategies in Pakistan, Farida Shaheed, Sohail. Warraich, Cassandra Balchin, Aisha Gazdar (eds), Lahore: Shirkat Gah[24]
  • Shah, Nafisa. 1994. 'The Circles of Freedom of Women' in Locating the self: perspectives on women. APSR Publications. Print
  • Shah, Nafisa. January 1993. 'Of Female Bondage' in Newsline. Print. Karachi, p. 44
  • Shah, Nafisa.1992. 'Media Coverage of Environmental Problems in Pakistan' at Seminar-Workshop on Environmental Policies and Media Reporting." Singapore: 27–31 January 1992.[25]


  1. ^ Member of National Assembly
  2. ^ Newsline Awards
  3. ^ UN Global Roll of Honour
  4. ^ Nafisa Shah at Oxford University
  5. ^ Nafisa Shah's Oxford University Lecture
  6. ^ Nafisa Shah, Nazim of Khairpur
  7. ^ Qudsia Kadri Interviews Nafisa Shah
  8. ^ Nafisa Shah gets PhD from Oxford
  9. ^ National Commission for Human Development
  10. ^ Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum
  11. ^ Newsweek Pakistan's"100 Women Who Shake Pakistan"
  12. ^ Aurat Foundation Lecture
  13. ^ Chief guest at FWB
  14. ^ Chief Guest at Inter-University debate
  15. ^ Nafisa Shah at NUST
  16. ^ Nafisa Shah at SALU
  17. ^
  18. ^ Prime Minister's Contempt Case, Express Tribune
  19. ^ Gilani's Dismissal –
  20. ^ Shah, Nafisa on Women's Policing February 2009
  21. ^ Politics of Being Asif Zardari ( June 2008)
  22. ^ Tribute to Benazir Bhutto
  23. ^ Making Crime, Custom and Culture
  24. ^ Faislo: Informal Settlement System and Crimes Against Women
  25. ^ Media and Environment Seminar

External links[edit]