Ayla Musharraf or Ayla Raza is a Pakistani woman who is known for being the daughter of former army chief and president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf. She is the Director of the All Pakistan Music Conference (APMC), Karachi.
Ayla Musharraf was born on Wednesday, 18 February 1970 (age 52 years; as of 2022). Since childhood, she was interested in classical music. She started studying architecture at Dawood Engineering College in Karachi. However, in the late ’80s, when Karachi was plagued by student unrest Ayla relocated to Lahore and enrolled herself in the National College of Arts (NCA), where she pursued a Bachelor of Architecture. A student at NCA, she spent her college days attending concerts organised by the All Pakistan Music Conference (APMC) and the Lahore Music Forum. She also learned classical music during her college days. Born into a family of music lovers, she attributes her inclination toward music to her paternal grandparents. Her grandfather, Syed Musharraf, used to play the tabla, while her grandmother, Zarin Musharraf, played the harmonium. Additionally, her father, Pervez Musharraf, is into ghazals, which she grew up listening to. After her marriage, she settled in Karachi, where met Hayat Ahmed Khan (founder of APMC) at a dance festival. During her meeting with Hayat, Ayla proposed the idea of organising concerts in Karachi. She succeeded in persuading Hayat and organised the first concert by APMC Karachi materialised in 2004. While talking about the same in an interview, she said,
Hayat sahib was kind and encouraging. He put me in touch with some classical music enthusiasts in Karachi, and also attended our inaugural event in the city.”
Parents & Siblings
She was born into a Muslim family, who were also Sayyids, claiming descent from Prophet Muhammad. Ayla Musharraf’s father, Pervez Musharraf, is a politician from Pakistan and a retired four-star general of the Pakistan Army, who is known to lead the Kargil War against India in 1999. He served as the 10th President of Pakistan from 2001 until tendering his resignation in 2008. Ayla’s mother’s name is Sehba Musharraf. Her grandfather, Syed Musharraf, was in foreign services. Ayla’s younger brother, Bilal Musharraf, is a Pakistani actuary (chartered accountant) and an educationist.
Husband & Children
Ayla Musharraf is married to Asim Raza, a Pakistani film and TV commercial director and producer. Before venturing into film production and direction, Asim worked as an architect with the architectural firm Arshad Shahid Abdullah (PVT) LTD. Ayla Raza met Asim at Dawood Engineering College in Karachi, where both were studying architecture.
Together they have two daughters, Maryam Raza and Zainab Raza. Maryam Raza ventured into the entertainment industry as a director in 2021 with the music video of the song Pyaar Da Meter by Taha G. Meanwhile, Zainab Raza did the cast’s styling for the video.
Ayla started her career as an architect. However, she quit her job in 2010. Since then, she has been actively working toward the promotion of traditional performing arts at a non-profit organization, All Pakistan Music Conference (APMC), Karachi. Previously she was the General Secretary of APMC. Later, she became the director.
Faced Life Threats From Terrorist Organizations
In July 2013, Ayla Raza faced life threats in Karachi. Reportedly, intelligence agencies informed the Government of Sindh that banned terrorist organizations had drafted a plan to target Musharraf’s daughter in Karachi. Her father, who had then returned from four years of self-imposed exile, faced similar threats from the Pakistani Taliban. At that time, he was under house arrest at his palatial farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad. Pervez Musharraf was accused of conspiring to kill the former two-time premier Benazir Bhutto in December 2007 and for the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti, a nationalist leader from Balochistan province during a military operation in 2006.
- Ayla is also a student of the classical music genre Khayal, under the tutelage of Ustad Naseer-ud-Din Saami of the Qawwal Bachcha/Dilli Gharana.
- An advocate of women’s rights, she was a speaker in the 3rd Athena40 Global Conversation: ‘Women’s Leadership in Times of Crises.’ Women from across eight countries participated in this synchronised online conversation and debated about women’s role as effective leaders in times of crisis, as well as the local challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
- She pursued a six-month course in the Persian language.
- She is a voracious reader and is fond of reading both fiction and non-fiction.