|Senator from Ontario|
July 9, 2010
|Nominated by||Stephen Harper|
|Appointed by||Michaëlle Jean|
April 29, 1952 |
|Occupation||Activist, artist, realtor|
She was named to the upper house by Governor General Michaëlle Jean, on the advice of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on July 9, 2010, and will sit with the Conservative caucus. With this appointment, Ataullahjan became the first Canadian senator of Pakistani Pushtun descent. She had been the Conservative Party's unsuccessful candidate in Mississauga—Brampton South during the 2008 federal election losing to Liberal MP Navdeep Bains.
Ataullahjan is an advocate for the South Asian community; she has served on the executive board of the Canadian branch of The Citizens Foundation, an international organization that since 1995 has built 730 schools for Pakistan’s poorest children and is an executive member of the Canadian Pashtun Cultural Association. She immigrated to Canada in 1980 from Pakistan as a new bride. Prior to her appointment to the Senate she worked in the Toronto area as a realtor. She has a diploma in computer operations and is also an artist. She stated her political heroes were Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Emily Stowe and Terry Fox.
She founded the parents council at David Lewis Public School in Toronto and has also served on the executive of the Pakistani Canadian Professionals and Academics and as president and vice-president of the Canadian Pashtun Cultural Association. She is also on the executive of the South Asian Regional Council and Citizens Foundation's Toronto chapter.
Ataullahjan was born in Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Her great-great-uncle Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, led a non-violent Khudai Khidmatgar Muslim movement for independence from the British. Her father is Saranjam Khan, a former Pakistani senator and until recently secretary-general of Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (N) party. As a schoolgirl, she was friends with Benazir Bhutto.
- "Harper fills last Senate vacancy", Globe and Mail, July 9, 2010
- "New senator is no Tory hack", Toronto Star, August 2, 2010
- "Ex-Tory candidate named to Senate", CBC News, July 9, 2010
- "Profile of the new senator, Salma Ataullahjan"
- "PM appoints new senator before crucial budget vote", Toronto Star, July 9, 2010