Dr. Nafisa Shah is a Member of National Assembly (MNA) from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Chair of the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), General Secretary of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus and a member of parliamentary standing committees on Finance, Minorities, Economic Affairs and Statistics. She frequently writes for publications such as The News and represents Pakistan at international conferences. Her opinions are often solicited on news channels including Dawn TV, ARY News, Express 24/7, GEO News Business Plus, Samaa TV, Dunya TV, BBC, CNN and others.
Formerly, Dr. Shah was the Nazim (mayor) of Khairpur District.
Education and Personal life
Nafisa Shah was born on January 20, 1968 in Sukkur to Husn Afroze and Syed Qaim Ali Shah.
She completed her O-Levels at St Joseph’s Convent School, A-Levels at Karachi Grammar School and Bachelor of Arts at a German University. After completing her undergraduate studies, Shah worked with Newsline and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute.
Her reporting on environmental problems, development and gender issues won her acclaim at home and abroad. In 1993, Dr. Shah received All-Pakistan Newspaper Society’s Best Article of the Year award and was included on United Nations’ Global Roll of Honour.
In recognition of her groundbreaking research work, Nafisa Shah was admitted as a Chevening Scholar to the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford University. After completing her Masters in Social and Cultural Anthropology, Shah enrolled in a doctoral program in anthropology at Oxford University.
Upon returning to Pakistan in 2000 for her field research on Karo Kari (honour killings) in upper Sindh, Dr. Shah was drawn into active politics. She contested Khairpur’s local body elections and won. From then on, she has worked as a committed public representative.
After spending 10 years conducting research, Dr. Shah completed her doctoral thesis on "Honour Violence, Law and Power: A Case Study of Karo Kari in Upper Sindh" at the University of Oxford in 2010. According to news sources, the examiners praised the quality of her thesis and “said that the argument and the data mustered to support the theses were original, persuasive and lucidly and coherently presented” Her book on the topic is under publication.
Dr. Nafisa Shah spent her childhood and teenage years actively participating in her father’s election campaigns along with her siblings. Later, she volunteered with former Prime Minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, conducting research for speeches and dealing with policy matters.
Victory during the 2001 local elections for Khairpur’s Nazim (mayor-ship) enabled Dr. Shah to implement her vision for inclusive, community supported development. By launching a successful hepatitis vaccination drive and building several schools, hospitals, museums and recreation centers, Dr. Shah set the benchmark high for her contemporaries and successors. For her remarkable administrative work in an “exclusively male-dominated” playing field, Dr. Shah was nominated for a collective Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 – a rare accomplishment, and a significant first for a Pakistani woman.
Later, she was appointed the chair of Pakistan’s National Commission for Human Development (NCHD). Discharging her responsibilities, Dr. Shah has built schools, adult literacy centers, vocational training institutes and relief camps for people displaced by floods and internal warfare. Her organization functions as a vital bridge between public and private sectors, enabling Pakistan achieve Millennium Development Goals.
For her public work, decorations and awards have followed by the dozen. Most notably, she was identified as a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum in 2005 and included in Newsweek Pakistan’s “100 Women Who Shake Pakistan” in 2011.
1. 100 Women Who Shake Pakistan,” Newsweek Pakistan, 2011
2. Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum, 2005
3. Nobel Peace Prize Nomination, 2005
4. Global Roll of Honor, United Nations, 1993 http://www.global500.org/ViewLaureate.asp?ID=183
5. Best Article, All Pakistan Newspaper Society, 1993 2/
1. Chief Guest at International Womens Day Celebration, Aurat Foundation
2. Chief guest at First Womens Bank corporate documentary launch, 2010
3. Chief guest at Asia South Pacific Association for Basic Adult Education (ASPBAE) and BUNYAD Foundation's “Gender Equality in Education” report launch, 2011
4. Chief guest at Debate Contest for Allama Iqbal Shield, 2011</ref>she is also the daughter of syed Qaim Ali Shah the chief Minister of Sindh.
5. Chief guest at "Women in Leadership and Management in Higher Education”, organized by National University of Science and Technology (NUST)T) in collaboration with Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) and Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).
1. Shah, Nafisa. 2010. Honour Violence, Law and Power: A Study of Karo Kari in Upper Sindh. Oxford University Press
2. Shah, Nafisa. 2009. “Recruiting Women in Community Oriented Policing” in The News. Print
3. Shah, Nafisa. 2008. “The Politics of being Asif Zardari” in The News. Print.
4. Shah, Nafisa. 2008. A Tribute to Benazir Bhutto. Online
5. Shah, Nafisa. 2007. 'Making of Crime, Custom and Culture: The Case of Karo Kari Killings of Upper Sindh' in Scratching the Surface: Democracy, Traditions and Gender. Heinrich Böll Foundation Lahore:2007. Print.
6. Shah, Nafisa. 2006. 'Commercial Marriages of Girls' in The News. Print: Islamabad
7. Shah, Nafisa. April 1998. A story in black: Karo Kari Killings in upper Sindh", Reuters Foundation
8. Shah, Nafisa. 1998. Blood, tears and lives to live: Women in the cross-fire, a study for Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Book. 100-409-076
9. Shah, Nafisa. 2003. 'Role of the Community in Honour Killings in Sindh' from Engendering the Nation-State. Lahore: Simorgh Publications.
10. Shah, Nafisa. 1998. “War Against Women” in Newsline. Print.
11. Shah, Nafisa. 1998. `Faislo: The Informal Settlement System and Crimes Against Women in Sindh’ in Shaping Women’s Lives: Laws, Practices and Strategies in Pakistan, Farida Shaheed, Sohail. Warraich, Cassandra Balchin, Aisha Gazdar (eds), Lahore: Shirkat Gah
12. Shah, Nafisa. 1994. 'The Circles of Freedom of Women' in Locating the self: perspectives on women. APSR Publications. Print
13. Shah, Nafisa. January 1993. 'Of Female Bondage' in Newsline. Print. Karachi:p.
14. Shah, Nafisa.1992. 'Media Coverage of Environmental Problems in Pakistan' at Seminar-Workshop on Environmental Policies and Media Reporting." Singapore: 27-31 January 1992
6. Chief guest at a workshop on conserving Sindh’s Cultural Heritage organized by Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai University in collaboration with the Endowment Fund Trust, Unesco, Higher Education Commission (HEC) Islamabad and the Khairpur district government, 2010.
7. Chief guest at Advanced Diploma Graduation Ceremony, Aga Khan University, 2010
8. Chief guest at Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (SOGP) biennial conference, 2009.