Zahida was born in the Sasaram town of Bihar, India. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, her father, Muhammad Abul Khair, emigrated to Pakistan and settled in Karachi, where Zahida was brought up and educated. She wrote her first story when she was nine years old. She graduated from University of Karachi, and her first essay was published in the monthly Insha in 1962. She chose journalism as a career in mid 60s. In 1970, she married the well-known poet Jon Elia. Zahida Hina was associated with the daily Jang from 1988 until 2005, when she moved to the Daily Express, Pakistan. She now lives in Karachi. Hina has also worked for Radio Pakistan, BBC Urdu and Voice of America.
Since 2006, she has written a weekly column, Pakistan Diary in Rasrang, the Sunday magazine of India's largest read Hindi newspaper, Dainik Bhaskar.