About Author

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.

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.[6] 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.


Nafisa’s hobby and passion by all means is art. In her leisure she loves to paint and has exhibited her work countless times at Karachi, Islamabad and Oxford. Amongst her favorite artists are legendry painters such as Saadqain, Chugtai, Jamil Naksh, Jimmy engineer as well as impressionists such as Gogain and contemporary artists including Frida Khalo who is famous for her self-portraits, Fernando Botero and Ayesha Khalid.
Though she is not highly fond of sports she encourages sports, amongst males as well as females in her district and watches cricket particularly a match between India and Pakistan.
Her ideal way to relax is hardly affordable since her busy political schedule means all work and no play. She stated, “I have no home since my home itself is a public place where I am constantly in contact with external affairs, through the cell-phone of not physically.” Continuous travelling due to political engagements is also the major reason why she detests travelling particularly via air though she is a passionate sight-seer and zealous heritage preservationist. She mentioned her efforts to preserve the cultural heritage of not only Khairpur’s splendid architecture but also areas associated with it. In her pursuit to promote art and cultural values Nafisa has also established a craft company by the name of Indus Craft Organization which operates in Sindh. Her beloved home town, Khairpur is also her favorite destination to relax and seek pleasure.
Mostly fond of conventional music, Nafisa Shah lists Noor Jahan, Abida Parveen and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan as her favorites along with some other legends such as Mehdi Hassan, Roona Laila, Ahmed Rushdi and Masood Rana. Folk instrumentals, Coke Studio music and ghazals are all her idea of good music.

Although Nafisa Shah has been active in supporting wildlife preservation organizations, writing extensively about the need to preserve nature and animals, she stated that she is unfortunately not good in handling pets. Middle Eastern dishes specially curry, pulses and fried chillies along with Turkish, Punjabi and mild Pakistani food are what Nafisa enjoys eating.

Notable Awards

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/[/ms_accordion_item]


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.