She was the first Asian and Muslim woman to receive a PhD from University of London. Her doctorate thesis, “Development of the Urdu Novel and Short Story”, was a critical survey of Urdu literature. She was the first elected woman parliamentarian of Pakistan being a member of the Constituent Assembly in 1947. She served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Morocco in 1960s. She was a delegate to the United Nations on several occasions, and was a member of the committee that worked on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention Against Genocide.
A published author, essayist and translator, she was a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers. The Government of Pakistan posthumously conferred on her its highest civil award, Nishan-i-Imtiaz, in 2002.
Shaista Suhrawardy-Ikramullah was a devoted Pakistani woman who believed in progressive values and remained an active defender of fundamental human rights.