Zeenat Hisam is a writer-researcher from Pakistan working freelance since July 2016. She has worked with the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Karachi from 2003 to  June 2016. During this period she researched and wrote on labour issues. Prior to joining the development sector, Ms Hisam worked with Daily Dawn, the leading English language newspaper in Pakistan, from 1980 to 1991. She has written extensively for the media on social issues and authored several research reports. She continues to be engaged in research, especially on labour issues. Zeenat Hisam wrote weekly column (Diary of a Feminist) on women’s issues in daily Star, English-language evening newspaper (1981-82) for two years. Currently Ms. Hisam is contributing articles on labour and development for the opinion pages in Daily Dawn.

Her published works include—besides numerous articles, columns, book reviews, and travelogues for the English-language national press—a number of research reports, two books and a collection of translation, from English into Urdu, of fiction of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Italo Calvino, A.B. Yehushua, Yusuf Idrees, Quim Monzo, Donald Barthelm and Daniel Alarcon.

Zeenat Hisam co-edited quarterly Urdu literary journal AAJ from 1989 to August 2004. She edited bi-monthly wall newspaper on environment and sustainable development( in Urdu, Hamara Mahoul) for Shirkatgah (1993-94).

Ms. Hisam has a Master’s degree in Development Studies specializing in Women and Development from the Institute of Social Studies, the Hague, the Netherlands (1987-88). She also holds a Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Karachi.

Zeenat Hisam is based in Karachi, Pakistan.



Research Reports

Status of Labour Rights in Pakistan 2015, March 2016, Pakistan Institute of Labour Research & Education (PILER), Karachi;

Status of Labour Rights in Pakistan: 2014, April 2015, PILER, Karachi;

Rapid Assessment–Worst Forms of Child Labour in District Badin and Tando Allahyar, Sindh, 2013, Provincial Child Labour Unit, Government of Sindh.

Religious Minorities in Pakistan–Constitutional Rights and Access to Judicial System: A Study of Socio-Legal Constraints, 2013, PILER, Karachi, Pakistan (Zeenat Hisam & Yasmin Qureshi).

Labour Rights in Pakistan: Expanding Informality and Diminishing Wages, 2011, PILER, Karachi.

The Flood Affected Population in Sindh: Rebuilding Lives and Livelihoods, 2011, PILER, Karachi, Pakistan;

Labour Rights in Pakistan: Declining Decent Work and Emerging Struggles, 2010, PILER, Karachi.

Labour Standards in Football Manufacturing Industry: A Case Study of a Nike Vendor in Sialkot, Pakistan, 2009, PILER, Karachi;

Women organizing for labour rights: Comparative study of women workers in textile/garment sector in Pakistan and Bangladesh, 2009, PILER;

Denial and Discrimination: Labour Rights in Pakistan, 2007, PILER, Karachi;

Road Transport Workers in Pakistan, 2006, PILER, Karachi.

Gender and Poverty in Pakistan, 2005, South Asian Alliance for Poverty Eradication & PILER.

Industrial Relations and Labour Rights in Pakistan, 2004, The Network, Islamabad.

Research Articles

Minimum Wages and Collective bargaining: Emerging Initiatives in the Informal Sector, Chronique Internationale de l’Ires, No. 23, March 2010, Institut de Recherches Enonomiques et Sociales, France;

Collective Care Arrangments in the Informal Labour Market: Road Transport Workers in Pakistan, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol XLI, No.21, May 27, 2007;

Independence Day: Notes from a Diary, Sampak: Journal of Global Understanding, Vol.4, Issue 1, 2004;

Project Evaluation Reports

Women  and Honour Killings: Fight against Karo-Kari (Women empowerment project, Sindh Agricultural and Forestry Workers Coordination Organization (SAFWCO), Shahdadpur, Sindh, 2002).

Right to be Heard: The Process of Women’s Empowerment (SAFWCO, 2001)Seeds of Change (Child and Maternal Healthcare Project, 2000)

Seeds of Change (Child and Maternal Healthcare Project, 2000)

Women and Crisis Management: Violence in Karachi in the 1990s  (Shirkatgah Women’s Resource Centre, Karachi, 2000).


Mingora–The Unplanned City: Dynamics of Development and Public Participation, 2002, City Press, Karachi

Making it Happen: Stories of Community-Based Organisation, 1998, NGO Resource Centre, Aga Khan Foundation Project.

(In Urdu) Mohr-e-Sukoot: Muntakhib Tarjumay, (collection of translated short stories), 2007, Aaj ki Kitabain, Karachi.