– for writing the poetry of rebellion daring age-old anti-women traditions and customs
– for her contribution to the world of art and for taking Pakistani art international
– for earning international acclaim for her theatrical performances and using her Ajoka theatre group to highlight social issues and promote social causes
– for being a leading classical dancer who contributed much in popularizing the dance tradition; for earning international acclaim as a kathak exponent
Roshan Ara Begum
– for being one of the topmost classical vocalists that subcontinent produced post-partition
– for her contributions as an art critic and illustrator and for introducing cultural diversity of Karachi in a unique manner through her much acclaimed research work published in the form of her book Karachiwala
– for creating that happening place for authors, artists, philanthropists, musician and spinning it for intellectuals and duffers alike. For living fearlessly and always speaking the truth without caring for consequences. For being the epitome of courage, truthfulness and bravery. Sabeen was truly a role model for the younger people. She was the voice of the voiceless. While many prefer to just talk, Sabeen walked the talk. Always. She led from the front. Her passion for a peaceful Karachi made her undertook many initiatives. She was one of the leading promoters of arts, music and culture in Karachi.
Saffia Saleem Beyg
– for selflessly devoting her life to promoting classical music, musicians and instruments as our cultural and artistic hertigage
Dr Salma Maqbool
– for being the voice of physically challenged and disabled. After she was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa — an incurable genetic disorder leading to blindness — she took it upon herself to elevate her individual struggle to a bigger sphere. A young visually impaired female doctor would go on to single handedly establish ‘Darakhshan’, a Vocational Rehabilitation Centre for Women with Disability, develop the National Policy on Disability for the Ministry of Social Welfare, chair the Committee on the Status of Blind Women of the World Blind Union and manage the Pakistan Foundation Fighting Blindness in the capacity of Chairperson. Her proudest achievement however remained the induction of visually impaired in the Civil Services of Pakistan, a first in the 60-year history of Federal Public Service Commission.
Senator Salma Ataullahjan
– for being the first Pakistani Canadian to be appointed as a Senator by Canadian government. A great grand niece of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (Bacha Khan), Senator Ataullahjan is a highly respected member of Conservative Party and one of the most well-known Pakistani-Canadian women.
– for tirelessly and selflessly showcasing Pakistani culture, art and heritage to audiences in Canada and promoting Pakistan’s soft image in North America through Mosaic – South Asian Heritage Festival of Mississauga, Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival and her art gallery Promenade. Together with her husband Arshad Mahmood, she has undertaken many initiatives promoting and introducing Pakistani art forms and artists. Her role in creating a strong image of Pakistan in Canada is second to none.
– for bridging the gap while living abroad. For her contributions as a poet, writer, theatre director and a strong advocate of gender equality, women’s empowerment, religious tolerance and interfaith harmony. She runs her organization Bridging the Gap from Toronto, where she’s based for the last many years.
– for being the first Pakistani woman to be appointed as Senior Advisor for Women’s Empowerment to the United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and for serving as Senior director for Democracy, Human Rights and International Operations at the UN Security Council from 2003-2005. Shirin has served 5 Republican presidential administrations since 1980.
– for her services as a senir diplomat and foreign services official who holds the honour of being the first woman to be appointed as official spokesperson of Pakistan’s Foreign Office. Tasnim is a graduate of Tufts University and has also served as Ambassador to Italy and Morocco.
Arfa Syeda Zahra
– for being an outstanding scholar, academician, human rights activist, linguist with command over 7 languages and a noted speaker who has taught at LUMS and Forman Christian College and has also served as Chairperson National Commission on Status of Women.
– for being a name synonymous to the struggle for women’s rights in Pakistan; who is a sesaoned journalist and has served as Chairperson National Commission on Status of Women. She is the Secretary General, Pakistan Chapter for Pak India people’s forum for peace and democracy. She is also the Founder Member of Pak-India People Forum in 1994. She is a member of Human Rights Commission, Pakistan Association for Mental Health, Pakistan, Women Lawyers Association. She was president of Aurat Foundation since 1994-2004.
– for being an inspiring education advocate who is internationally recognized for her tireless work in promoting and advocating girls’ education. Beaten by her father when he discovered that she was discreetly going to school with the help of her mother, Humaira suffered tremendously but continued her journey unabated. She went on to teach and later started the Dream Foundation, which began as a tuition center for a few students in her hometown of Moach Goth in 2003. Now a formal school currently enrolling 1200 students where children pay a rupee a day to attend classes, Bachal’s Dream Foundation also offers separate adult literacy classes for men and women, which are taught at night by Humaira herself and her team of young volunteers.
– for being an ace artist, textile designer and researcher whose interest in traditional crafts led to the establishment of KOEL, a workshop that pioneered the revival of hand block printed fabrics in Pakistan. She is one of the founders of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture and was its first Executive Director. Years of research into ajrak, a traditional Sindhi textile, led to publication of the book Sindh jo Ajrak, and later to the making of the documentary video,Sun, Fire, River, Ajrak – Cloth from the soil of Sindh.
Dr. Nafees Sadik , – for her outstanding contribution to United Nations where she served as Executive Director UN Population Fund, UN Under Secretary General, Special Advisor to Secretary General and Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia. Dr Sadik is an internationally recognized and respected expert on population welfare. She represented UN on many international forums and was the first Pakistani woman who rose to the position of Under Secretary General.
– for writing bold and rebellious poetry highlighting the plight of women, discrimination they face at the hands of men in the society and the crimes that are perpetrated against them!