Parveen Shakir was born in 24th of November 1952 in Karachi. She was an Urdu Poet, teacher and a civil servant of the Government of Pakistan.
Shakir was highly educated. She received two undergraduate degrees, one in English literature and the other in linguistics and obtained MA degrees in the same subjects from the University of Karachi. She also held a PhD and another MA degree in Bank Administration.
In 1982 Shakir qualified the Central Superior Services Examination. In 1991 she obtained an MA degree in Public Administration from Harvard University US.
Shakir married a Pakistani doctor Naseer Ali with whom she had a son Syed Murad Ali—but the marriage did not last long and ended in a divorce.
Parveen started writing at a young age penning both prose and poetry and contributing columns in Urdu newspapers and a few articles in English dailies.Initially she wrote under the pen name, “Beena”.
Shakir’s ghazalyaat heavily rely on metaphors and similes which are repeatedly and thought provokingly used to bring force and lyricism in her work. A fine example of this is seen in one of her most famous couplets, “Wo tou khushbu hai, hawaon main bikhar jaye ga/ Masla phool ka hai, phool kidher jayega?”. Other metaphors Shakir commonly uses are titli [butterfly] for a Romeo, badal [cloud] for one’s love, baarish [rain] for affection, and andhi [storm] for difficulties.
Parveen started writing at an early age and published her first volume of poetry, Khushbu [Fragrance]to great acclaim in 1976.She subsequently published other volumes of poetry – all well received – Sad-barg [Marsh Marigold] in 1980 Khud Kalami [Soliloquy] and Inkar [Denial] in 1990 Kaf e Aina [The Mirror’s Edge] besides a collection of her newspaper columns titled Gosha-e-Chashm [The Sight Corner] and was awarded one of Pakistan’s highest honours the Pride of Performance for her outstanding contribution to literature.The poetry books are collected in the volume Mah e Tamam [Full Moon] with the exception of Kaf e Aina.
Some of Shakir’s ghazalyaat or more specifically couplets have gained an iconic status in Urdu literature. One of her most famous couplets if the one given above. Another famous Shakir couplet is “Jugnuu ko din kay wakt parakhne ki zid karain/ Bachchay hamaray ehed kay chalaak ho gaye”.
She was a teacher for nine years before she joined the Civil Service and worked in the Customs Department. In 1986 she was appointed the second secretary CBR in Islamabad.
Shakir’s first book Khushbu was awarded the Adamjee Award. Later she was awarded the Pride of Performance one of Pakistan’s highest honours.
Upon her death the Parveen Shakir Trust was established by her close friend Parveen Qadir Agha. The Parveen Shakir Trust organizes a yearly function and gives out the “Aks-e-Khushbo” award.
In 2013 Pakistan Post issued a commemorative postage stamp of Rs 10 denomination on Perveen Shakir’s death anniversary.
On 26 December 1994 Shakir’s car collided with a bus while she was on her way to work in Islamabad. The accident resulted in her death a great loss to the Urdu poetry world. The road on which the accident took place is named after her.