For many years Pakistan has been a part of the Human Rights Deceleration, though the human rights situation is a bit complex right now, because of all the tensions within the country. But there have been some famous personalities from this country who have helped in the formation of this historic document.
Let’s look back at one of Pakistan’s first female representative of the first Constitute Assembly of Pakistan, Pakistan’s former Ambassador of Morocco, mother-in-law of Jordan’s Crown Prince and niece of the great leader Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, Begum Shaista Ikramullah.
Begum Shaista is featured at United Nations exhibition as a woman who had helped shape the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and had also advocated for women’s rights in Pakistan.
The well-known politician, diplomat and writer had succeeded in getting approved the recommendation for equal rights of women in marriage in Article 16 of the Declaration of Human Rights. It was Shaista’s many great efforts that led to women in Pakistan setting higher goals for themselves.
She was academically quite bright as well, one of her achievements was when she was awarded a PhD for a thesis called, “Critical Development of the Urdu Novel and Short Story,” and became the first Muslim woman to get a PhD from the University of London.
In Delhi, Begum Shaista met Muhammad Ali Jinnah and after their meeting, she became inspired to join Muslim politics, she migrated to Karachi in 1947.
Begum Shaista worked very hard in developing the relations between East and West Pakistan and to build up the legal status of Muslim women along with their political participation.
She even made great contributions in world of literature, one of her significant ones was her autobiography called, “From Purdha to Parliament” (London, 1963).
Pakistan’s current UN Ambassador, Maleeha Lodhi had recently tweeted the picture of women who contributed to the Human Rights Declaration with the following caption: “It is a source of great pride for Pakistan that Begum Shaista Ikramullah is featured among the women who shaped the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at an exhibition at the UN to mark the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration.”
She managed to achieve a lot before passing away in 2000.
We should be very inspired by women like Begum Shaista, who after finishing their education, pursuing a good career and then using her success for the betterment of womankind.