|Federal BISP Minister|
|Prime Minister||Raja Pervez Ashraf|
|Chairwoman of the Benazir Income Support Programme|
October, 2008 – 2013
|Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan|
April, 2008 – 2013
|Constituency||Reserved seat for women|
2 January 1970 |
Gujrar khan, Punjab, Pakistan
|Political party||Pakistan Peoples Party, PPPP|
Farzana Raja (born January 2, 1970) Mrs. Farzana Raja, Ex- Member National Assembly of Pakistan was the Federal Minister, Laureate of Crescent of Excellence of Pakistan, founding and former Chairperson of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). Mrs. Raja also remained the Vice President of the Young Parliamentarians Forum, focused on the betterment of youth, of the 13th National Assembly of Pakistan. She was also an active member of the Women Parliamentary Caucus of the National Assembly of Pakistan. Mrs. Raja dedicatedly working for the uplift of Pakistani women and deprived segments of the Nation. Mrs. Farzana Raja has a long time association with the Pakistan Peoples Party and has been at the forefront, as a close confidant of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and later with President Asif Ali Zardari, for the Party’s struggle for democracy and rights of the underprivileged sections of society. Mrs. Raja was for two consecutive terms elected for provincial assembly of Punjab from 2002 to 2007 and National Assembly from 2008 to 2013. She has also served as the first ever woman Secretary Information of Pakistan People’s Party, Punjab. She has always been actively participating in the policy formulation work of the Party, especially in the areas of women empowerment, foreign policy and media relations.
In view of her long-lasting commitment to the poor and vulnerable sections of society and her desire to work for their betterment, she was appointed as Chairperson of the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) in 2008. It was the time both exogenous as well as indigenous factors had affected Pakistan’s economy severely. Consequently, nascent democratic government of Pakistan had to face the challenges of rising inflation, mounting unemployment and diminishing opportunities for the major sections of society resulting in a major segment of population living below the line of poverty. Providing immediate relief to the common citizen was the biggest challenge facing the government. It was under these tough circumstances that Mrs. Farzana Raja took over as the Chairperson of the BISP. In a span of about four years, she transformed BISP into the largest and most credible ever social protection initiative of the country. It was her devotion to the cause of improving the lives of the millions of poor that BISP has managed to reach out to more than 7 million families in the country. Similar welfare initiatives took other countries like Brazil & Mexico almost a decade to achieve. In a meeting with Mrs. Farzana Raja, the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban ki-Moon called BISP “a model for other developing nations”. Among other dignitaries of the world, the World Bank President, the US Secretary of State, the President of Asian Development Bank, President CSIS, Washington DC, the UN Special Envoy on Global Education, UN Assistant Secretary General and Assistant Administrator, UNDP acknowledged the transparency, objectivity and technology based operations of BISP. In recognition of her righteous services for the nation in general and for the underprivileged in particular, the Government of Pakistan on the occasion of 64th Independence Day of the country conferred on the Ex-Federal Minister and founding Chairperson, BISP Mrs. Farzana Raja the honor of Crescent of Excellence (Hilal-e-Imtiaz, the prestigious award of Pakistan). Mrs. Raja was also conferred Human Rights Defender Award on International Human Rights Day by the President of Pakistan. The honor was given to her in recognition of her services for the protection of Human Rights, struggle for democracy and efforts for women empowerment.
Mrs. Raja is married to Dr. Ammar Turabi.
Mrs Raja has fled the country haunted by pending corruption cases due to her suspected involvement in funds embezzlement BISP program she headed.
In October 2008, she was appointed by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani to the position of Chairperson of the Benazir Income Support Program. The BISP, named in honour of the late former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto is a program which aims to offset the effects of inflation on the poorest people in Pakistan, including families headed by widowed or divorced women, or families with persons with disabilities or chronic disease.
In June 2009 in her capacity as BISP Chairperson, she attended a ceremony that announced a financial package for the internally displaced who would receive a monthly grant of Rs1,000 as part of the BISP programme.
In July 2009 she visited New York and met at the United Nations with representatives of the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Development Fund for Women and the World Bank.Whereas in 2012 she was appointed a Federal Minister in the Gillani cabinet and was later retained as Federal Minister without portfolio in charge of the Benazir Income Support Programme under Raja Pervez Ashraf's government.
- "Profile: Farzana Raja", Farzana Raja, retrieved 2009-07-30
- "Farzana Raja Chairperson of BISP", PakTribune, 2008-10-15
- APP (2009-05-11), "Benazir Bhutto awarded 'Best Mother' by World Population Federation", Associated Press of Pakistan, retrieved 2009-07-30
- Benazir Income Support Program, archived from the original on 2009-06-29, retrieved 2009-07-30
- Zardari launches financial package for IDPs financial
- "CHAIRPERSON BENAZIR INCOME SUPPORT PROGRAMME (BISP) MEETS UN OFFICIALS" (Press release). Pakistan Mission to UN. 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2009-07-30.