She became involved in the Young Conservatives as a teenager, and served as a member of Oslo city council from 1995 to 2001. In 2001 she was elected to the Norwegian Parliament from Oslo, as the first minority person elected to the Norwegian Parliament. Pakistan-born Athar Ali had served earlier, but as a deputy representative. Rafiq was not re-elected in 2005. Instead, she served in the position of deputy representative during the term 2005–2009.
Rafiq resides at Høybråten, and is married to fellow politician Aamir J. Sheikh, with whom she has one daughter. Sheikh had originally gone through an arranged marriage, but this was annulled in 2003, and married Rafiq one year later. Rafiq has also spoken out against the caste system.
- "Afshan Rafiq" (in Norwegian). Storting.
- Skjebstad, Heidi M. (15 November 2008). "Vil tilbake på tinget". Akers Avis Groruddalen (in Norwegian). Retrieved 8 December 2008.
- "Athar Ali" (in Norwegian). Storting.
- Engh, Christine (3 September 2008). "Kjærligheten ga trusler og fiender". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved 8 December 2008.
- Thorenfeldt, Gunnar (7 December 2007). "Slik dater norskpakistanere". Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 4 January 2009. Retrieved 8 December 2008.