Farzana Yaqoob

Former Minister for Social Welfare and Women's Development in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK)

Topic: VIP Speech and Lecture

Farzana Yaqoob represents the next generation leadership of South Asia.  Being a youth leader, social activist & entrepreneur from Azad Jammu & Kashmir, she believes in humanity and striving for justice. She is the Founding Member of the Asia Institute of Public Policy and is a Policy Advisor for AGAHI. Yaqoob is also a Member of the Policy Network of the Foresight Lab.

In 2011, she was elected by the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir from Rawalakot. She served as a Minister for Social Welfare and Women Development in the Pakistan People’s Party-led Government. Farzana Yaqoob transformed the Department of Social Welfare and Women Development, after assuming the office. Yaqoob developed the office of Minister for Social Welfare and Women Development by integrating a citizen-centric model incorporating access for women as one of the core value for departmental procedures. As a Minister, she chalked an all-inclusive policy bringing women into the decision-making processes. In her tenure, she worked closely with all the political parties, representatives of civil society, government officials and the media bridging the urban-rural gaps. She established a separate Directorate of Women Development in 2014, created a framework ensuring equal employment opportunities to the female population in the formal and informal sector. This led to her having the AJ&K Assembly unanimously approve the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Harassment Against Women at Work Place Act along with the Acid Crime against Women Amendment and the Domestic Violence Act. Farzana Yaqoob has also established the first-ever Drug Addicts Rehabilitation Center at Muzaffarabad, the center continues to serve hundreds of patients from AJ&K and Pakistan. In collaboration with the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Yaqoob launched a special finance scheme for women entrepreneurs encouraging them to start their own businesses.

Yaqoob is an alumni of the National Defence University, Islamabad. During the intensive programme she examined the water management challenges of the region.

In 2015, she launched a global campaign pursuing the rights of the people of Kashmir. The International Friends of Kashmir was announced at the European Union Parliament in collaboration with the Member Parliament Raja Afzal.

Fazrana Yaqoob is an Eisenhower Fellow 2016, her focus during the fellowship was on conflict resolution and climate change mitigation strategies. At the John F. Kennedy School of Government of the Harvard University, Farzana Yaqoob laid the foundation of the Benazir Bhutto Leadership Programme in November 2016 with the class of 1973.

She is considered to be one of the most thought-provoking leaders in the region on issues of conflict, women empowerment, and social security networks. She speaks at national and international forums.