On March 23, 2022, Pakistan-based Roshan Bharucha – the only Zoroastrian in Pakistan to have been elected as both – Senator and Minister in the Federal Government – was felicitated with the prestigious Sitara-i-Imtiaz by the Government Of Pakistan for her selfless dedication, commitment and services in the field of Social Service. The ‘Star of Excellence’ or Sitara-e-Imtiaz, is Pakistan’s third-highest honour and civilian award. She has served as the Federal Minister for Human Rights, Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, States and Frontier Regions, Railways and Postal Services, in a caretaker capacity.
Article in the Parsi Times
Roshan Bharucha was also awarded the Balochistan Excellence Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award for her longstanding efforts and achievements in serving the needy and promoting the youth. Her hard work and dedication has won her numerous awards including the Human Rights Award by Pakistan Human Rights Foundation, Lahore; Social Work Award by Tarraqi-e-Niswan, Balochistan; World Zoroastrian Community Award by WZCC; the All Asian Presentation Award; and the Balochistan Excellency Award.
In 2005, Senator Bharucha founded ‘SOS Children’s Village of Baluchistan’ – a permanent home for orphaned and abandoned children – the only one of its kind in the entire province, which currently houses nearly 300 children, providing them with quality education so they have a fair chance in life. A crusader for disadvantaged women, she also founded the vocational training center – ‘Hunar’, located in Quetta, in 2010, for their empowerment. Hunar has trained over 4,500 underprivileged women. Serving as Chairperson of the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund since 2015, Bharucha presides over the Boards of several universities, NGOs and corporations across Pakistan.
In addition to her social work, Senator Bharucha dedicates much time to caring for the Parsi community serving as the General Secretary Of Quetta/Sukkur Parsi Anjuman. She goes through great lengths on a personal level to cater for their wellbeing and welfare, including personally housing and feeding those in need. She envisions a healthy and prosperous Balochistan and Pakistan and intends to dedicate the rest of her life to realizing that dream, in her words, “My vision for Pakistan is that of a progressive, educated, dynamic, and peaceful society.” In her spare time, Senator Bharucha enjoys visiting her three children and six grandchildren in Malaysia and the USA.
Born to a humble Balochistani farmer – Meherwanjee Irani and a mother from Gujarat, Bharucha was raised in Quetta, which she continues to call her home. She acquired a Master’s Degree in English from the Baluchistan University, and a degree in Finance and Accounting from Pakistan Institute Of Management, Karachi in 1993. She married Khursheed Minocher Bharucha (then a Captain in the Pakistan Army) and started her career as a Montessori school teacher, teaching at various schools across Pakistan, in keeping with the different postings of her husband.
In 1987 she joined the UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO) as an Administrative Secretary and was promoted to Administrative Officer of the ILO’s Technical Training Center, which teaches English to Afghani refugees. She later became Administrator at the GTZ – a German non-profit organization which worked for the cause of Balochistan’s poor, where she dedicated over twelve years running over a dozen training centers and a micro-lending program. In 2000, in recognition of her social work, she was selected as Caretaker Minister in the Baluchistan Govt. where she played a vital role in shaping a positive image of the local community by uplifting the domain of education.