Farzana Yaqoob

Social Activist and Entrepreneur, Former Minister for Social Welfare & Women’s Development, Kashmir

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. Yaqoob is a former minister for Social Welfare and Women Development, Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Yaqoob is the founding member and Chief Executive of Center for Asian African Studies. Yaqoob is Associate of Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad, Pakistan. Yaqoob is Advisor to Center for Strategic and Contemporary Research, Islamabad, Pakistan. Yaqoob is Board member of Aiming Change for Tomorrow (ACT). Yaqoob is Secretary General Eisenhower Fellowship, Pakistan. Yaqoob is member of Civil Advisory Group UNWomen Pakistan. Yaqoob is Eisenhower fellow 2016. Yaqoob is Young Global Leader 2017 of World Economic Forum.

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. 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 in to 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.

She was part of the government task force responsible for starting five universities and three medical colleges in Kashmir.

In her own constituency she set up mini hydro power plants in villages to provide uninterrupted power supply. This not only provided energy to the local population but also provided jobs. She worked on creating ease of access to education for the youth by increasing the communications network and number of schools.

She also worked on improving the health care sector by increasing the efficiency of services and increasing the number of doctors available. This was made possible by opening medical colleges.

She has been active participant in the international discourse on conflict resolution. She was part of the Kashmiri delegation visit to OIC annual meeting in Cairo in 2012. This delegation was headed by the President of Azad Kashmir and Foreign minister of Pakistan. She played an active part in discussing the solutions for the conflict of Kashmir with the Kashmir contact group OIC.

She is the first female Kashmiri parliamentarian to have spoken on the conflict of Kashmir at the foreign ministers meeting of OIC in New York.

She has been a regular speaker at the EU Parliament to highlight the plight of humanity die to abuse of human rights.

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

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