Ali’s maternal grandmother’s side of the family:
Saleha Begum’s father was Col. Latafat Husain Khan, who was a doctor (graduate from a British university) in the Indian Medical Service of the Indian Army. Her grandfather was Hon. Inayat Husain Khan, the Minister of Justice in the State of Bhopal, India. Her maternal family roots go back to the Barakzai tribe of Pathans, who had migrated from Afghanistan to India three generations ago. Hon. Inayat Husain Khan rose from Deputy Collector in the Indian Civil Service to the Minister of Justice in Bhopal State (a princely Indian state with a Muslim ruler). Saleha Begum was devoted to social work, specifically raising the social and economic future of poor women. She was the most active member, and indeed a leader of the “Anjuman Hayat-e-Tayyaba”, whose basic objective and goal was to provide opportunities for livelihood of poor and under-privileged women of Hyderabad State. She remained active in this effort for a long period. In recognition of her social services, she received a medal from the Nizam of Hyderabad on his birthday award ceremony in 1944. While still a diplomat’s wife, Saleha Begum became one of the founding members of APWA (All Pakistan Women’s Association), the organization Ali joined in London decades later, along with Begum Rana Liaquat Ali Khan (wife of Pakistan’s first Prime Minister), Lady Abdullah Haroon, Begum Shaista Ikramullah (wife of Pakistani Foreign Secretary), Begum Khwaja Shahabuddin (wife of Minister of Information, Pakistan), Begum Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah (wife of Governor of Sind) and many other prominent Pakistani ladies including Ali’s paternal grandmother Begum Khursheed Hafiz. She took active part in the rehabilitation of refugees pouring into Pakistan from Khokrapar, and organized Meena bazar to raise funds for the settlement of refugees. After she moved to Lahore from Karachi, she continued with her activities in social services by taking active part in the Red Cross organization. She twice became President of Model Town Ladies Club and organized Melas to raise funds for the Red Cross.
Ali’s great-great-grandfather was Khan Bahadur Ghulam Ahmed
Khan who became Deputy Commissioner of Dera Ismail Khan in 1895. After finishing his education in 1875, he joined the British India civil service as Naib Tehsildar and served towns in the province of Punjab. He became Deputy Commissioner of Dera Ismail Khan in 1895. He was awarded the title of “ Khan Bahadur” by the British Crown and was then sent to the Indian princely state of Jammu and Kasmir. He was appointed in 1898 as the Minister of Commerce and Revenue in the Maharaja of Kashmir’s cabinet. He remained in that position until his death in 1904.
Ali’s maternal great grandfather—Fakhruddin Ahmed Khan (Titled Nawab Fakhar Yar Jung) was born on December 29, 1882. He completed his education by receiving a degree in Maths and Economics from Muslim University, Aligarh in 1899. His life was spent in the largest princely state in India, Hyderabad State, where he was appointed as the Secretary, Ministry of Finance on Feb 1, 1913. He rose to become the Minister of Finance in the cabinet of His Exalted Highness The Nizam of Hyderabad, the ruler. On June 16, 1923 the Nizam awarded him the title of “Nawab Fakhar Yar Jung”. The Nizam was impressed with Ali’s grandfather’s character, integrity, religious faith and human qualities. Consequently he was put in charge of the initial private education of the Crown Prince and his brother (the Nizam’s sons). The Nizam of Hyderabad was a great believer in interfaith harmony and took extraordinary measures to maintain good feelings and harmony among all his subjects, the majority of whom were Hindus. His character was a great mix of the Hindu/Muslim culture of that era. In fact, the Nizams of the Asafia dynasty had several Hindus as Prime Ministers of their state during an extended period. For instance, Maharaja Krishan Prasad, a Hindu nobleman, was not only appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister from 1901 to1912, he also served as the Prime Minister for several years until 1925. Maharaja Krishan Prasad developed a special bond and friendship with Anila’s grandfather because of their commitment to the idea of interfaith harmony, a major commitment dating centuries back to the Mughal rule in India, long before the British arrived in India. Thus, Anila’s love for Interfaith lies in her DNA.
Ali’s paternal side:
Anila Ai’s great-grandfather, Nawab Muhammad Abdullah Khan, owned the first Urdu newspaper in U.P., Humdam, India, and his daughter, Ali’s grandmother, Khursheed Hafiz, married at the age of 13, taught herself to read and write and became a leading writer, clergy, and women’s right activist in Hyderabad, India. She joined the Muslim League and became the Secretary of the organization. She joined the movement for Pakistan, with Begum Fatima Jinnah, her close friend, the sister of the Founder of Pakistan. After the creation of Pakistan, she dedicated her life to serving destitute, women, children, and families who poured in from India. She set up colonies for women, and created financial opportunities for them to become empowered. She was an expert on Islam and had a gathering of 400 plus Muslim women at her house every Friday where she spoke about Interfaith, women’s rights in Islam and how to live a good life as a Muslim. She wrote several books on Islam and women’s rights. Later on, the Iraqi Ambassador and Gadda Nasheen, Abdul Qadir AlJilan, honored her with the title of “Female Caliph” for her work to empower Muslim women. Ali’s father, Qutubuddin Aziz and his father, Syed Abdul hafiz, started Pakistan’s first news agency, United Press of Pakistan. Ali’s father, Aziz, went on to study journalism and International relations at The London School of Economics. After returning to India, he joined Quaid-e-Azam, the founder of Pakistan to lead the youth movement for Pakistan. Ali’s fathers, a premier journalist, politician, diplomat, humanitarian, human rights activist, and Inter-faith leader, has been the biggest influence in Ali’s life. His legacy in Pakistan is one of excellence in public service. His books, some 14 of them are widely circulated in the millions. His most recent book on the Prophet of Islam, “A blessing to Mankind”, was published for the sixth time. Mr. Aziz’s close ties to the United States led his daughter and son to emigrate to the U.S. Mr. Aziz’s role in thawing the Cold-War relations between China and the USA are well documented. He served at the Pakistan High Commission during the 70’s and 80’s and then returned to Pakistan to lead all the nation’s newspapers as Chairman National Press Trust. Her father also served as a Director on the United Nations Population Media Center for many years and was the Chairman of the Royal Commonwealth Society, UK. Aziz was given the highest honor, Tamgha, from the
President of Pakistan for his service to Pakistan.