Family Wealth & Donations
Begum Jahan Ara Shahnawaz owned 1600 squares areas of land (one thousand six hunderd) in the district of Layyah and surrounded areas like Fatepur, D.I Khan, Chubara and as far as Dera Ismail Khan according to the Thal Development Authority (TDA records at partition).This made her the largest single land owner in Punjab. Begum shahnawaz moto was : life is to give and not to take. She surrendered almost 75% of her lands during 1948. When the Thal development Act came into force. She felt that if this land can be used for the betterment of this country, then it let it be so. She further surrendered the required land during Ayub Khan and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto land reforms. She never compromised on her ethics and never had the land transfered as fictious transactions e.g ‘ Benami transactions’ which the other Rich Fedral of Punjab e.g Tiwanas , Leghari etc did those Turbelent times.
Begum Shahnawaz belonged to an affluent Family whose roots went back over 400 years to the time of Emperor Shah Jahan. During her life extending over 83 years she gave more than a million rupees in cash as charity (equivalent to perhaps 250 million rupees in todays terms after adjustment for inflation) and donated 62 squares of land for educational and welfare purposes. She declined to accept a seat; many times in the Central Cabinet ,includign an offer as Pakistans first Ambassdor to the Soviet Union , for she believed the cabinets were incapable to do constructive work.
Recounting the services rendered to the nation by Jahanara, a big gathering of the writers and intellectuals of pakistan passed a resolution for the creation of Jahanara Shahnawaz women university in Pakistan in 1980 and requested the President General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq to turn the Queen Mary College, Lahore of which she was the first student, into the Jahanara Shahnawaz university forthwith as an expression of the nation’s gratitude to her.