KARACHI: Begum Zubeida Habib Rahimtoola, one of the founders of the All-Pakistan Women’s Association and a leading social and political activist who contributed her services to the Pakistan movement, passed away at a hospital here on Sunday. She was 98.
Wife of Pakistan’s first high commissioner in London Habib Ibrahim Rahimtoola, Begum Zubeida leaves her three children Zeenat Chinoy, Farouq and Maqbool Rahimtoola and seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Born in Mumbai on Aug 12, 1917, Begum Zubeida, the second daughter of Sir Sultan Chinoy, was destined to walk and talk with all the leading political figures of South Asia at the time of independence and partition. Her father-in-law, Sir Ibrahim Rahimtoola, was the first Indian to be appointed President of the Imperial Indian Legislative Assembly in 1930 and also was President of Mr Jinnah’s Muslim League when it met in Pune in 1933. He was a fervent believer in a separate homeland for the Muslims of India, but died in 1942 before his dream could be realised. In 1947, her husband was made Pakistan’s first high commissioner to the Court of St. James in London, the UK.
At a very young age, Begum Zubeida started contributing her services along with the leading politicians to achieve independence of India and the immediate creation of Pakistan. Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Fatima Jinnah, Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth II, Lord and Lady Mountbatten, Sir Winston Churchill, King Hussein of Jordan and Sir Aga Khan III were known to her personally.
She was given the award of Sitara-i-Khidmat in 1960.
She passed away peacefully with her family by her bedside at a local hospital on July 5. Her soyem was held on Monday at her residence in Karachi.
Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2015