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Begum Kulsoom Saifullah Khan - @zahraasaifullah/Instagram
Begum Kulsoom Saifullah Khan - @zahraasaifullah/Instagram

PESHAWAR: Prominent political figure, social activist and Pakistan’s first female federal minister Begum Kulsoom Saifullah Khan passed away on Monday.

Begum Kulsoom was the patron of Saif Group and Chairperson Saifullah Foundation for Sustainable Development.

She is survived by five sons, Humayun Saifullah Khan, Anwar Saifullah Khan, Salim Saifullah Khan, Javed Saifullah Khan and Iqbal Saifullah Khan.

She was commended for her distinguished services to Pakistan in a career spanning the corporate, social and political spectrum.

An active worker, a participant in the Pakistan Independence Movement and a founding member of the All Pakistan Women's Association (APWA) since 1947, Begum Kulsoom served as an advisor to the founder of APWA Begum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan till 1951.

She was a founding member of the Sarhad Handicapped Children's Association and also served as the NWFP (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) president of the craft council and as a member of the National Council for Population Planning.

From 1964 till 1990, along with being the Chairperson Saif Group of Companies, Begum Kulsoom was a founding member of the Women's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WCCI), a founding Member of the Pakistan Association of Women Entrepreneurs and the NWFP (now KP) President of the Pakistan Federation of Business and Professional Women's Association.

She has also represented Pakistan as a delegate at the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations International Council on population and at the World Conference to review and appraise the achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace.

As a public representative, Begum Kulsoom served as a Member of the Provincial Assembly NWFP (now KP), Member of the Federal Council and also as a Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan.

The first woman federal minister in Pakistan's history, she served as the Minister for Population Welfare and Organisation and Methods (Management Services Division).

She had also served as the Minister of State for Commerce.

During a glittering ceremony held at the Aiwan-i-Sadr on the occasion of Pakistan Day in 2008, former President Pervez Musharaf had conferred the prestigious Hilal-i-Imtiaz civilian award upon Begum Kulsoom for her meritorious and distinguished services to Pakistan.