Tehmina Durrani is a Pakistani author, artist, and activist who is known for her autobiography ‘My Feudal Lord,’ released in 1991, which attracted a lot of controversies. She is also known for being the First Lady of Pakistan in 2022.
Tehmina Durrani was born on Wednesday, 18 February 1953 (age 69 years; as of 2022) in Karachi, Pakistan. Her zodiac sign is Aquarius. She grew up in Islamabad, Pakistan. She attended Lady Jennings Nursery School, Karachi.
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Tehmina belonged to a political background as her paternal grandfather’s name was Major Muhammad Zaman Durrani. Her maternal grandfather was the Prime Minister of Patiala, Nawab Sir Liaqat Hayat Khan.
Parents & Siblings
Tehmina’s father’s name was Shahkur Ullah Durrani, who was a banker. Her mother’s name was Samina Durrani, who was a homemaker. She has one brother and four sisters. One of her sisters’ names is Zarmina Durrani.
Wife & Children
Tehmina got married to Anees Khan in 1970 when she was seventeen years old. They got divorced in 1976. Later, she got married to Ghulam Mustafa Khar, who served as the Chief Minister and Governor of Punjab. Mustafa used to abuse her for a long time, and she wrote a book on her abusive husband in 1991. The name of the book is ‘My Feudal Lord.’ They divorced after fourteen years of marriage.
In 2003, she married the Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif.
She has five children, two sons, Ali and Hamza, and three daughters, Nisha, Naseeba, and Hamza.
Tehmina started her writing career in 1991 when she wrote her autobiography, ‘My Feudal Lord.’ The book created many controversies because it was not normal for a woman in Pakistan to come out so strongly about her abusive husband at that time. Her husband was a respected and famous personality in Pakistan.
She has written other books including A Mirror to the Blind (1996), Blasphemy (1998), and Happy Things in Sorrow Times (2013).
Tehmina enjoys painting a lot. In 1992, she presented her paintings in one of her exhibitions, Catharsis. The painting was later used as the cover of her book Blasphemy that she wrote in 1998. In 2016, she participated in another exhibition, A Love Affair. In an interview, she talked about her paintings and said,
I’ve always wanted to paint but I never had the time. I did about ten paintings in twenty, years, but this work has all been done in the last five months. I’m not satisfied with my work, I don’t think any artist is, but this is a beginning. Right now I’m still a curiosity, so I haven’t really found out if I`m any good.”
After Tehmina divorced Ghulam Mustafa Khar, she started living at Abdul Satar Edhi, a Pakistani humanitarian’s home. She believed that her life changed a lot after she worked with Edhi. In 1996, she wrote the autobiography of Edhi and titled ‘A Mirror to the Blind.’ In 2015, she founded the Tehmina Durrani Foundation that started working in 2017 for the welfare of the poor. In an interview, she talked about the foundation and said,
We are picking the mission of Edhi, where he left. His duty was to serve the humanity without distinction of caste and creed – and so is ours. The core ideas in its Mission and Vision are establishing Pakistan as a Social Welfare State, teaching the Edhi ideology of humanitarianism, tolerance, and service to others less privileged, women empowerment through economic independence, protection and rehabilitation of the children of war.”
In 1993, she sat on a seven-day hunger strike against the government. She was taken to the hospital, and she broke her fast after Prime Minister Moin Quraishi visited her in the hospital and requested her to stop the hunger strike. In 2001, Tehmina supported an acid attack victim Fakhra Younus. Fakhra accused her husband Bilal Khar (son of Ghulam Mustafa Khar, Tehmina’s ex-husband) of throwing acid on her face. Tehmina sent Younus to Italy for the treatment, but, initially, she could not get a passport. Later, she received the passport because of public pressure. Tehmina arranged treatment for Younus by requesting financial support from the Italian government and the Italian cosmetics firm Sant’ Angelica. Younus underwent thirty surgeries and was not able to take more pain, and on 17 March 2012, she committed suicide in Italy. Her last rites were performed at the Edhi Centre in Karachi.
In 2012, a documentary ‘Saving Face’ was made on the life of Younus by journalists Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Daniel Junge. The documentary won Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2012.
In 2015, Tehmina helped during the Taliban terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar that led to the death of many children. In an interview, she talked about the steps that she would take to comfort the parents of children who died. She said,
I’ve decided to build a housing society for the parents of the deceased children for which I will request the federal and provincial governments to provide land while friends and philanthropists like Malik Riaz of Bahria Town would be requested to pool their resources for the project.”
In 2001, she started a movement to free the spirit of Islam and bring Muslim women to power.
Autobiography with controversies
Tehmina attracted controversy when she wrote her autobiography ‘My Feudal Lord’ in 1991. She wrote about her marriage to a Pakistani politician, Mustafa Khar, and she also talked about how her husband abused her during their marriage in the book. In an interview, she said that her family abandoned her after she wrote the book. Many publishers denied publishing her book, so she published the book herself. The book was translated into 40 languages and has received many awards.
Accused of defamation
In 1999, Vanguard Books published her autobiography. Later, she claimed that Najam Sethi, the owner of Vanguard Books, stole the money she earned by selling her books. She also accused Sethi of mental torture. Later, he accused Tehmina of defamation.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- In 2008, she won the Most Influential Asians Award.
- In 2009, she won an award for the Honorary Swati.
- In 2012, she was on the list of Pakistan Power 100, UK.
- In 2014, she won the Order of Arts and Letters Award.
- She has won the St. Vincent Award.
- She has won the Future Show 3001 Award.
- She has won the Mayor of Milan Award.
- She has won the Together for Peace Award.
- Tehmina’s husband, Shehbaz, is a cancer survivor and needed treatment while he was in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau in 2018. In a Twitter post, she questioned the medical facility in jail and said,
My visit to CM Shehbaz on Saturday disturbed me. As he is a cancer survivor, pet scans and blood tests were regularly conducted by his doctor in London. The tests taken in Islamabad showed some abnormal signs. A board of doctors was to be constituted to check them. That has still not happened. Why?”
- Reportedly, Tehmina was taken to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) due to heart pain.
- She is often spotted smoking on various occasions.
- She is often featured in various newspapers.
- She is often spotted drinking on various occasions.