Syeda Abida Hussain is the daughter of Late Col. Syed Abid Hussain, a distinguished Parliamentarian of Undivided India, who was a member of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and a Cabinet Minister (1954-58).
She studied at Convent of Jesus & Mary, Lahore, “O” levels at Villa Miramonte, Montreux (Switzerland), (“A” levels) and later obtained a diploma in Fine Arts from Florence (Italy). She is fluent in English, French, Italian and two oriental languages – Punjabi and Urdu. She majored in Economics and Political Science for her B.A. degree (Punjab University).
She is married to Syed Fakhar Imam who, like her, was a Member of the National Assembly. Mr. Imam was Minister for Local Government (1981-83), Speaker of the National Assembly (1985-86) and Federal Minister of Education (1990-93).
Syeda Abida Hussain is mother of three children. Her two daughters, Umme Kulsoom Imam and Sughra Imam graduated from Harvard University, while her son Abid Imam is in his senior year at Yale University. Umme Kulsoom is pursuing business interests, Syeda Sughra Imam was elected Chairperson District Council Jhang in 1998.
Syeda Abida Hussain was elected Member Provincial Assembly (State Legislature) in 1972 for five years. For the next eight years (two terms) she was elected Mayor (Chairman of the District Council) of Jhang.
In 1985, Abida Hussain became the first woman in Pakistan’s history to be directly returned in a general election as 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 March 1991, she was appointed Advisor to the Prime Minister for Population Welfare. From November 1991 – April 1993 she served as Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States of America. In 1994, she became Member of the Working Committee of Pakistan Muslim League. In November 1996, she was appointed Federal Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Culture, Sports, Tourism and Women’s Development in the Interim Government. In February 1997 she was elected Member National Assembly and was appointed Federal Minister for Population Welfare, Environment, Local Government & Rural Development, Food, Agriculture & Livestock, Women’s Development, Social Welfare & Special Education in February 1997. As of July 1997 to April 1999 she was Minister for Population Welfare and Science & Technology.
Abida Hussain’s involvement in public affairs began in 1967 when she endowed an income-generating project for rural women in Jhang. Four years later, in 1971 alongwith her mother, she endowed a women’s hospital Syed Abid Hussain Memorial Trust Hospital and later (1980) she co-sponsored the Lahore Grammar School for Girls at Lahore and the Abid Hussain Foundation School at Jhang. In 1981, she founded the Crafts Council of Pakistan.