Tehmina Durrani

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Tehmina Durrani in 1994

Tehmina Durrani (Urdu: تہمینہ درانی‎; born 18 February 1953) is a Pakistani women's rights activist and author. Her first book, My Feudal Lord, caused discord in Pakistan's society by describing her abusive and traumatic marriage to Ghulam Mustafa Khar, then the Chief Minister and later Governor of Punjab.[1]


Durrani was born into an educated and influential family. She is the daughter of a former Governor of State Bank of Pakistan and S.U. Durrani, the managing director of Pakistan International Airlines. She is the granddaughter of Nawab Sir Liaqat Hayat Khan, a prime minister of Patiala state for eleven years.

At seventeen she married Anees Khan, and they had one daughter. Durrani and Khan divorced in 1976. Durrani married Khar, Lion of the Punjab, who had been married five times. Durrani and Khar had four children. After thirteen years they divorced.

In 1991, Durrani wrote an autobiography titled My Feudal Lord alledging abuse by Khar. [2] She argued in the book that the real power of feudal landlords, like Khar, is derived from the distorted version of Islam that is supported by the silence of women and of society as a whole.[3]

Durrani then married the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mian Shahbaz Sharif. Durrani resides in Lahore with her husband, who is the brother of Nawaz Sharif, the current Chief Minister of Punjab. They married at a private ceremony in Dubai in 2003.[4][5][6]

My Feudal Lord rights dispute[edit]

In June 1991, My Feudal Lord was released by Vanguard Books, a company owned by the journalists Najam Sethi and Jugnu Mohsin. Durrani denied she signed a contract vesting complete foreign rights with Mohsin rather than with herself and her estate. [7] The dispute was settled in 1992.

On 19 May 1999, Durrani accused Sethi of stealing her book profits. She said, "[his actions were] an even bigger case of hypocrisy than my experience with the feudal system." At the time, Sethi was being detained without charge by Inter-Services Intelligence for his comments to a British Broadcasting Corporation news team about government corruption. Durrani sued Sethi for mental torture, and he countersued for defamation. A review of the book contracts by the English newspaper The Independent described Sethi as acting in good faith and described him and Mohsin as "the injured party".[7]

Current activities[edit]

Since 2005, Durrani has supported the social rehabilitation of women.[8] In 2001, Durrani cared for Fakhra Younus, a former wife of Bilal Khar, the son of Khar from his third marriage. Younus had been attacked with acid, allegedly by her husband. Durrani's arrangements to take Younus abroad captured media attention. Younus was denied a passport to leave Pakistan but under public pressure was later allowed to leave.[9] Durrani engaged the Italian cosmetics firm Sant' Angelica and the government of Italy to treat Younus.[2] Smile Again, an Italian NGO head by Clarice Felli entered Pakistan to assist in the care of mutilated women. Italian Mother left Pakistan after falling out with the chapter run by Musarat Misba of Depilex over financial discrepancies.[10] On 17 March 2012, Younus died and was buried in Karachi. Durrani received Younus' body draped in an Italian and a Pakistan flag.The funeral prayers for Younus took place at the Edhi centre in Kharadar.[11]

Selected works[edit]

My Feudal Lord[edit]

My Feudal Lord has been translated into 39 languages and has received awards.[2]

A Mirror to the Blind[edit]

Durrani's second book, A Mirror to the Blind, is the biography of Abdul Sattar Edhi, Pakistan's highly decorated social worker. Over a three-year period, Durrani lived in Edhi's home and accompanied him on his visits. The book was published in 1996 by the National Bureau of Publications with the Edhi Foundation. It is the official document Edhi's life and message.[3]


Her third book, Blasphemy (1998), was successful but also controversial.[12] In the novel she describes the secret lives of the Muslim clergy and spiritual leaders or pirs. Durrani said that the story is factual, with some names and events altered to protect the identity of the women who are at the center of the story. The book also delves into a critical approach to the tradition and practice of Nikah Halala. She describes several cases resulting in the humiliation and torture of Muslim women.[13] The book also made it into Pakistan's best-seller list.[14]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]