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Begum Ra'ana Liaquat Ali Khan

Begum Ra'ana Liaquat Ali Khan


Begum Ra'ana Liaquat Ali Khan was born on February 13, 1905 at Almora in U.P. (India). She was a highly educated lady in days when education for women of Indo-Pakistan sub-continent was not an easily accessible commodity. She did her Masters first in Economics and then in Sociology, securing First class First from the Lucknow University. Thereafter, she did her Bachelor of Teaching (B. T.) from the Calcutta University and taught economics at lnder Parasat Girls College, Delhi till her marriage to Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan in 1933.

She was a source of inspiration and strength to her great husband in his struggle for the emancipation of the Muslims of the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent and in revitalizing the Muslim League and galvanizing it into a cohesive force to be reckoned with.

She became political confidant and Personal Secretary to Liaquat Ali Khan. She was a regular participant in the Muslim League functions. Her residence 'Gul-e-Ra'ana' in Delhi turned to be the nucleus of all major political activities, gatherings, deliberations and decisions of the All-India Muslim League, with herself at the centre of hospitality to the Muslim League Leaders and workers who used to flank her house from all over India. Even after the creation of Pakistan her struggle for the Muslim Ummah did not cease. She made strenuous efforts in 1947 for the rehabilitation of refugees coming from India and founded 'All-Pakistan Women's National Guard' to help the refugees in settling down in their newfound country. In 1948 she founded 'Pakistan Cottage Industries Association' and was elected its life time President. In 1948 she founded 'Pakistan Cottage Industries Association' and 'General Federation of Women's Club' and 'International Alliance of Women'.

Begum Ra'ana bore the shock of the assasination of her great husband in 1951 with fortitude. She was the first Muslim Woman to represent Pakistan in the United Nations Seventh General Assembly in 1952. Begum Ra'ana was the first ever Muslim Woman to be appointed as an Ambassador first to the Netherlands from September 1954 to June 1961, (Doyen of the Corps Diplomatique in her last year), and then to Italy and Tunisia (June 1961 to March 1966). During all her diplomatic assignments abroad she earned a lot of respect for Pakistan. In February 1973 Begum Ra'ana was appointed the first women Governor of the Province of Sindh and Chancellor of Sindh University. She was the founder of a number of women community/health, social and industrial centres and organizations. She was also the founder of 'Ra'ana Liaquat Ali Khan College of Home Economics', Karachi, 'College of Home Economics', Lahore and 'College of Home Economics', Dhaka. She was life member of various International bodies and recipient of Medals and citations which included 'Jane Adams Medal' 1950 (U.S.A.), 'Woman of Achievement Medal' 1950 (U.S.A.), 'Mother of Pakistan' 1950 (U.S.A.), 'Nishan-e-Imtiaz' 1959 (Pakistan), 'Grand Cross of Orange-Nassau' 1961 (The Netherlands), 'International Gimbel Award' 1961-62 (First Asian Woman Recipient), 'Woman of the World' J965 Chosen by the Turkish Women's Association, Ankara, 'Calcaliera di Gran Croce' 1966 (Italy) and 'United Nations Human Rights Award' 1978 (New York).

She died on June 13, 1990 at Karachi and is buried at the side of her great husband in Mazar-e-Quaid compound.



India never was one, was never a nation, never was a country governed by one single power even with the sword. It is a sub-continent of different nationalities and peoples. It was never governed, in history, by one single power. Even today, when constitutionally and legally British are ruling over India, one third India is not British. The administrative oneness is entirely the making of the British. The government, which has been in this sub-Continent for 150 or 160 years, is not a government with the sanction of the peoples.... It is the sanction of British bayonets and not the sanction of the peoples.

Muslim League Council, November 9, 1942
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