Ambassador Ghazala Khan is a mission head, certified human rights consultant, and business development researcher with twenty years of work in the finance and business development sector. She has experience with cross-cutting roles in administration, management, research design, training, and mentoring with various institutions.
Khan worked with diverse institutions in the private sector organizations, international and local NGOs within and outside of Pakistan. She executed projects covering a broad spectrum of business and development issues. Ambassador Ghazala Khan has also done a diplomatic fellowship (regulatory policies).
Khan is the first Pakistani female who documented the 2021 Regulatory Policy for Maternal Care in Crisis, health system, education, and empowerment of women. This policy is the first of its kind and helps the governing bodies of the African Union, ECOWAS, and the United Nations in their effort of closing the gap on gender rights, equity, and parity, internationally, under the umbrella of Sustainable Development Goal.
Her team was recognized as the Most Discipled Team (Fellowship). Khan was also nominated for SDG-11 (Advocate of the Year 2020) by the Humanitarian Award FIGHR.
Moreover, she received the Humanitarian Hall of Fame Award in 2021 by the World Humanitarian Aid Support and Development Forum, World Happiness Olympiad Bronze Medal 2021, and Special Award 2020 Books for Peace Rome.
As a business researcher, Khan received the best presenter certificate (Putra Business School UPM Malaysia in the Research Colloquium PURE (2019) and the Best Paper Award (Ist International Symposium on MENA Economies and Markets at Prince Sultan University Riyadh Dated 4-5 December 2019).
This week, I had the opportunity to interview Ambassador Ghazala Khan as we spoke about her career in human rights, women’s rights, and children’s rights. We also spoke about the lack of awareness against domestic violence in Pakistan and what we can do as a community to help prevent violence against women and children, who are the vulnerable individuals of our nation.
Interviewer: Can you tell us more about your work as a Mission Head and Diplomatic Ambassador for the FIGHR to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan? What changes do you aspire to bring to the country through this position?
Ghazala Khan: The Federation of International Gender and Human Rights (or FIGHR as we call it) is a sovereign, geopolitical, multi-tiered gender-lens advocacy, that structures livable, sustainable, humanistic, and integrative, cultural competencies, technologies, and emotional intelligence into solutions for rural and underdeveloped areas.
FIGHR’s umbrella is in its Equity Audit assessment which contains sociopolitical policy responses and local measures taken by area constituents – such as governments, employers and workers, local and regional business owners, and Community Based Organizations – as well as available networking solutions and responses, at the sector-specific level of economies and industries.
With this position I have a more focused approach to FIGHR’s intended service audience, is to the constituents at the national, sectoral, regional, and global level, as well as international organizations and other partners in the effort to advance decent work for women in Pakistan, solutions to Rural Maternal Health Access and Education as well as the dismantling of specific social and economic systems that are the cause of the lack of Diversity, Equity, Sensitivity, and Inclusion. Constituents are invited to comment on and contribute to their beliefs, voices, experiences, and truths so that we can serve as a repository of good practices and lessons learned in such things as pandemic responses all the way to finally fixing broken, ailing, and discriminatory systems, to “build back better” in the post-pandemic future.
- As Mission Head FIGHR I intend to contact all the Diplomatic missions, Hospitals, Educational Institutes, and NGOs that exist in Pakistan.
- By contacting them to make them aware of the federation’s motives and with their support, we will start working on the awareness for gender inequality and human rights and will focus on SDG 5.
- We are open to collaborate with SAARC Countries based on SDG 17. opportunities under Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
- We want our FIGHR Embassy to work with the Ministry of Human Rights, Chamber of Commerce, Securities, and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and form a regulatory body supervise by both to create awareness, sessions, seminars, and training related to all the human rights issues.
- We will be contacting all the educational institutions as the regulatory body to monitor and creating awareness from the grassroots level.
- We will be contacting all the corporate and industry sectors to urge them for following the policy of Gender discrimination, Gender inclusion, Gender diversity, human rights advocacy, women rights, gender equality, sexual harassment, or any kind of harassment in the workplace
- We are also going to get in touch with the existing body in Pakistan that holds the right to regulate all the policies related to above mention areas such as the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and other bodies that work in the areas.
Interviewer: You have done multiple works in the field of finance before shifting to human rights. What made you pursue this career shift? Did you stumble upon it coincidently or was it a decision you took after thorough planning?
Ghazala Khan: During my career break, raising kids and staying at home as a housewife, I dedicated some time to research, and I visited the Chamber of Commerce in Peshawar, Pakistan for my data collection. There I met one participant and she asked me that what you are going to do for us.
After that incident, I started working on women’s empowerment and started work as a volunteer with NGOs in 2016. I worked with Lean In Malaysia. I am also Global Goodwill Ambassador Pakistan. I utilize all this time and I did some online courses to enhance my further knowledge in humanitarian work. I came across an announcement on LinkedIn that the Federation of International Gender and Human Rights announced Fellowships.
I applied and was selected; it was one and half year fellowship program. We were asked to work on strategies and policies. Alhamdulillah, I have the honor that I am the first Pakistani female who documented the 2021 Regulatory Policy for Maternal Care in Crisis, health system, education, and empowerment of women. This policy is the first of its kind and helps the governing bodies of the African Union, ECOWAS, and the United Nations in their effort of closing the gap on Gender Rights, Equity, and Parity, internationally under the umbrella of Sustainable Development Goal.
Interviewer: Throughout your journey of pursuing your professional endeavors, did you ever face any obstacles, setbacks, discrimination, or racism? If yes, then how did you overcome them?
Ghazala Khan: We all are human, we have emotions, likes, and dislikes. A lot of people will encourage you and some of them demotivate you. Yes, my journey is also like others who follow their passion. When you follow the path of less traveled, there are more obstacles, but I learned from these all experiences. I am more confident, mature, and goal-oriented.
Interviewer: What inspired you to become a certified women empowerment consultant and a certified human rights consultant? Was it the unjust violence you saw women, men, children, and minorities in the country were facing or was it just out of your passion to make a difference in the lives of people nationally?
Ghazala Khan: Working against norms, coming out of your comfort zone is always difficult. I am a warrior by nature, and I love to be perfect. So, once I was doing research and collecting data, meeting and visiting NGOs for fellowship, it provoked me to get excellence in that field, because when you are in a workshop or mentoring someone, you must have command on your topic. Secondly yes, we need some drastic changes in our policies and strategies in the corporate sector and government sector. To make myself eligible for such sittings, I consider it important.
Interviewer: According to data released by an NGO, eight children were abused every day in Pakistan. They were abused sexually, physically, and verbally. And child abuse cases have significantly surged during COVID-19. Since you’re an ambassador of child abuse prevention at the My Body is My Body Program, can you please state your opinion on the abuse faced by children in Pakistan? What measures should activists and non-profit organizations take to prevent children, especially those residing in the rural areas, from getting abused daily?
Ghazala Khan: You are right. We need very strict punishments for such culprits. These cases are increasing day by day. I think that due to mental pressure, frustration, unemployment, and lack of information on human rights these incidents are increasing. I provided some pieces of training in Pakistani schools, but we need to educate children so that they know from where the danger zone starts. But unfortunately, parents and teachers are not supportive, they feel odd to educate their kids. But I think keeping in mind the current situation we badly need to introduce this subject in schools. Kids have the right to learn to protect themselves. I have all the training material and I am ready to train teachers. If someone is interested, they can contact me.
Interviewer: What can we do as a community to help prevent the women in Pakistan, especially those residing in minority communities, from being abused?
Ghazala Khan: We need to introduce a network of community-based services, health clinics, social wellness, and mental health wellness clubs to educate. By appointed consultants and volunteers, we can overcome this issue. We also need to educate boys and girls equally. We need to teach our son how to treat girls like a gentleman.
Interviewer: How can the youth of Pakistan get more involved in helping to create a positive change in the country by spreading awareness regarding the pressing social issues and concerns such as kidnapping, sexual assaults, honor killings, child abuse, and domestic violence?
Ghazala Khan: We need to create awareness among youth in universities, schools, and colleges. By introducing community-based work. We must have a subject on ethics. Our youth need to be educated on conflict management, ethics, human rights, diversity, and inclusion. Such subjects must be thought an early age. We do not need to implement it as a course work but must be based on learning, volunteering, and community-based workshops. It will bring positive change to society. Mental and social wellness is very mandatory.
Interviewer: You have done numerous works in the field of women empowerment and human rights. What advice would you like to give to all the young women who would like to pursue the same professional career aspirations as you?
Ghazala Khan: I would like to say that don’t give up. Be resilient, stay motivated. Persistency is the key to success. Whatever field you want to pursue but never give up. If I can do it you can also do it I would like to quote a couplet of Allama Iqbal that.
“گرتے ہیں شہسوار ہی میدان جنگ میں
The brave those who ride high only fall on the battlefield,
How the toddler fall who crawls on his knees“
Interviewer: What is the one thing you like the most about the amazing work you do?
Ghazala Khan: I love my work. I feel satisfied when I provide consultation to anyone. My motivational talk with my client encourages them and when I get feedback from them, I feel accomplished.
Interviewer: What advice would you like to give to the youth of Pakistan who is struggling to make a name or a career for themselves either because of class, financial, health, or other personal issues?
Ghazala Khan: First, take care of your health. A healthy body leads to a healthy mindset and with a healthy mindset you can achieve your goal. Always dream big but don’t waste your time. Take care of your inner self. Once you realize what your inner consciousness wants from you, your path will be easy.
Once you decide what is your goal. The second step is to analyze your skills. Work on the shortcomings. Learn and update your skills. Make short goals that will lead you to the long-term goal. Never use shortcuts. Don’t give up on your dreams. Stay motivated.