Syeda Abida Hussain has a strong political background. She is an illustrious daughter of a renowned politician of pre-partition era who worked with Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Her family excelled in education and politics. Shah Jewna and Jhang became known to the people of Pakistan because of her family. Her grandfather Pir Syed Raje Shah completed his education in 1889 from Chief College Lahore, which was an exalted quality education facility, created by the British and eventually named Aitchison College. He was appointed Honorary Magistrate in 1910, and died in an accident at the age of 34, in 1914.
She is the daughter of Late Col. (Hon) Syed Abid Hussain, a distinguished parliamentarian of undivided India, who was a member of Central Legislative Assembly (1945) and member of first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. He was close associate of the father of Nation, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinah and an important leader of Muslim league. He was a cabinet minister in the Central Government of Pakistan (1954-55) and in the West Pakistan Government, (1955-58). During the Ayub Khan martial law, he struggled for the restoration of democracy along with other democratic forces. During Madre Millat, the Quaid sister’s elections, he was her staunch supporter and went to jail for his opposition of the dictator, Ayub Khan.
She is married to a renowned politician of Multan, now in District Khanewal, Syed Fkhar Imam. Syed Fakhar Imam has been elected member Ntional Assembly three times. He was Federal Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (1981-83), Speaker National Assembly (1985-86) and Federal Minister for Education (1990-93). He has set a high moral example in the country by resigning from the ministry when he lost district council’s elections. This unprecedented political decision is yet to be followed by any political leader of Pakistan.
Syeda Abida Hussain started her political career as a member of Provincial Assembly. She was elected member of Punjab Assembly (1972-83). For eight years and two terms (1979-83), she was elected Chairperson of District Council of Jhang, her home district in Punjab, Pakistan.
In 1985 Abida Hussain became the first woman of Pakistan to be directly elected in general elections as a Member National Assembly. She was re-elected Member National Assembly in 1988. In August 1990, she was appointed the Minister for Information and Broadcasting. In 1991 she was appointed Advisor to the Prime Minister for Population Welfare.
Syeda Abida Hussain was the first woman Ambassador of any Muslim country to The United States of America. She represented her country in the US, 1991 to 1993. In 1994 she became member of the Working Committee of Pakistan Muslim League. In 1996 she was appointed Federal Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Culture, Sports, Tourism and Woman Development.
In 1997 she was elected Member National Assembly and was appointed Federal Minister for Population Welfare, Environment, Local Government and Rural Development, Food, Agriculture and Livestock, Woman’s Development, Social Welfare and Special Education. She resigned from Cabinet in May 1999.
In 2003 Syeda Abida Hussain transitioned from the Muslim League to the People’s Party, from where she had started her political career. Through a series of discourses with Mohtarma Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, Syeda Abida Hussain along with Syed Fakhar Imam made an important contribution towards the development of the Charter of Democracy, signed between the PML and the PPP in 2006.
Currently Syeda Abida Hussain is a member of the Central Executive Committee of the PPP.