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10 Pakistani Leaders Who Have Broken Barriers

In times of need, when push comes to shove, true leaders rise above the crowd and pave the way when no one else is able to. 


Here we celebrate 10 leading figures of Pakistan who beat the odds to carve their own path. 




  1. Seema Aziz 




After founding her leading textile business in 1985, and proving that local materials were no less than imported ones, Seema Aziz started CARE Pakistan in 1988. The first school opened in 1991 and by 1998 Lahore’s city government had asked her to take over the school system. Today CARE had more than 888 and caters to 285,000 students.



2. Bushra Hyder 





Bushra Hyder founded the Qadims Lumiere School and College in Peshawar. The school’s emphasis lies on its peace curriculum. Hyder has established herself a leading peace activist and co-founded the Women's Alliance for Security Leadership. 


3. Byram Avari





Byram Avari has established himself as a leading personality in many fields. As a skilled sportsmen, he was a gold medallist in yachting at the 1978 Asian Games and again at the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi. He now owns and operates the Avari Group of Companies which was the first Pakistani company to have obtained international hotel management contracts



4. Farhat Asif 




Born and raised in conflict ridden Kashmir, Farhat Asif has established herself as a key figure for peace. In 2008 she founded an opinion-based multilingual academic publication, The Diplomatic Insight’ The theme of this publication is ‘Peace Through Informed Dialogue’ In 2014, she founded the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies – an independent, non-government, non-profit think tank that aims to cultivate global peace through knowledge sharing and research.


5. Asma Jahangir 






A human rights lawyer and social activist, Asma Jahangir co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. She served as one of the leaders of the Lawyer’s Movement and became the first woman in Pakistan to serve as the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association. She is the recipient of multiple awards including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize and the Hilal-I-Imtiaz.




6. Deena Mistri 





In 1951, Deena Mistri became the first female teacher to teach secondary classes when she became at English teacher at the B.V.S. A leading educationalist, she served the Bai Virbaijee Soparivala Parsi Highschool for 55 years.


7. Comrade Sobho Gianchandani 




Comrade Sobho Gianchandani was the first non-Muslim recipient of the Kamal-e-Fun Award, which is given by the Pakistan Academy of Letters for recognition of excellence in the field of literature. Apart from being a writer he was a lawyer and prominent activist.





8. Fiza Farhan



Fiza was recognised in Forbes’ 30 under 30 list in 2015 for her inspirational work in providing clean energy in Pakistan. She is the co-founder of the Buksh Foundation, started in 2009 which is a microfinance institution that takes clean energy projects to underprivileged and rural areas of Pakistan 


9. Salaina Haroon 




Salaina Haroon is the Editor in Chief of CIO Pakistan, the largest business technology leadership magazine in the world. She is also the founder and director of Communique Collective - a marketing firm that deals with small and medium enterprises both locally and internationally.


20. Saba Gul 




As a World Economic Forum Young Global Shaper, a fellow of The Unreasonable Institute and founder of 2 startups, Saba Gul has made waves as an entrepreneur. She first started BLISS in 2011 which offered a living wage to 20 uneducated Pakistani women. Wanting to do more, Gul rebranded BLISS in 2013 and turned it into Popinjay which works with local artisans to create high end handbags.



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