Women in History – 30 July
Fatima Jinnah English IPA (30 July 1893 – 9 July 1967) was a Pakistani dental surgeon, biographer, stateswoman and one of the leading founders of Pakistan.
After obtaining a dental degree from University of Calcutta in 1923, she became a close associate and an adviser to her older brother Muhammad Ali Jinnah who later became the first Governor General of Pakistan.
After the independence of Pakistan, Jinnah co-founded the Pakistan Women’s Association which played an integral role in the settlement of the women migrants in the newly formed country. She remained the closest confident of her brother until his death. After his death, Fatima was banned from addressing the nation until 1951.
She wrote the book My Brother, in 1955 but it was only published 32 years later, in 1987, due to censorship by the establishment, who had accused Fatima of ‘anti-nationalist material’. Even when published several pages from the book’s manuscript were left out.
In 1965, she participated in the presidential election against military dictator Ayub Khan. She was backed by a consortium of political parties, and despite political rigging by the military, won two of Pakistan’s largest cities, Karachi and Dhaka.
Jinnah died in Karachi on 9 July 1967. Her death is subject to controversy, as some reports have alleged that she died of unnatural causes.
Her family members had demanded an inquiry, however the government blocked their request.
She remains one of the most honored leaders in Pakistan, with nearly half a million people attending her funeral in Karachi.