Nighat Dad
Nighat Dad in December 2016
Born1981 (age 42–43)
EducationBachelor of Laws Master of Laws
Alma materUniversity of the Punjab
Years active2012

Nighat Dad (Urdu: نگہت داد; born c. 1981) is a Pakistani lawyer and Internet activist[1][2][3][4] who runs the not-for-profit organisation Digital Rights Foundation.[5][6][7] Her work in the field of IT security has earned her many international awards.[8]

Early life and education

Dad was born in 1981 in Lahore.[9] She hails from a village in Jhang, Punjab. She received her education from the University of the Punjab, Lahore[10] from where she has received a degree of the Master of Laws.[9] Her marriage lasted only 18 months, and as a single mother, she had to wage a legal battle to win the custody of her child. During court proceedings she met many single mothers involved in legal battle to gain custody of their children, and she has been helping such women.[11]


Dad is a lawyer by profession[12] and practice criminal and family law.[7]

In 2012, she set up the Digital Rights Foundation where she was executive director, educate Pakistani internet users, particularly women to protect themselves from online harassment.[7][13] Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai has also attended workshops of Dad, before being shot by the Taliban in October 2012.[14]

Dad led campaigns to protect online freedom of speech in Pakistan as well campaigns against legislation that gives the government broad powers of surveillance online, most notable one is the controversial Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015.[15][13] She also contributed in the draft of Acid Prevention Law 2010 and the Domestic Violence Bill of Pakistan.[16]

At the Open Rights Group Conference in November 2017. Board members Nighat Dad and Maria Farrell with aspiring board member Azmina Dhrodia

In 2015, she was named in the TIME magazine's list of Next Generation Leaders, for helping Pakistani women fight online harassment.[15][13][17]

In 2016, she was awarded the Atlantic Council Digital Freedom Award[18] and Dutch government's Human Rights Tulip award.[19] She is also one of the 25 leading figures on the Information and Democracy Commission launched by Reporters Without Borders.[20]

In November 2018 she joined The Tor Project's board of directors.[21]

On 6 May 2020, Facebook appointed her to its content oversight board.[22]

See also


  1. ^ "Study finds Pakistan's online space increasingly 'not free'". The Express Tribune. 4 December 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  2. ^ "PML-N's stock taking". Pakistan Today. 30 May 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  3. ^ "'No safeguards to protect people from govt snooping'". Dawn. 15 November 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Pakistan Taliban suicide bombing in Lahore leaves several dead". Guardian. 17 February 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  5. ^ "Surveillance by UK, US sets bad precedent for privacy, freedom efforts in Pakistan: activist". Express Tribune. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Know your rights: Internet users". The Express Tribune. 17 September 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  7. ^ a b c "Nighat Dad named TIME's next generation leader". DAWN.COM. 29 May 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  8. ^ (, Deutsche Welle. "Pakistani women: Between glory and misery | Wo+men | DW.COM | 19.04.2017". DW.COM. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Vrouwen zijn online vogelvrij - OneWorld". OneWorld (in Dutch). 10 December 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  10. ^ "ڈیجیٹل حقوق کی جنگ میں سرگرم پاکستانی، 'نگہت داد'". VOA Urdu. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  11. ^ "Tech in Asia - Connecting Asia's startup ecosystem".
  12. ^ "Nighat Dad's award". DAWN.COM. 8 November 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  13. ^ a b c "Pakistani digital rights activist Nighat Dad among Time's Next Generation Leaders". Express Tribune. 30 May 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  14. ^ "Pakistani Nighat Dad featured in Time's list of Next Generation Leaders". ARY News. 2 June 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  15. ^ a b "Pak activist among Time's Next Generation Leaders". The Nation. 31 May 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  16. ^ "Nighat Dad". The News International. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  17. ^ "Helping Pakistani Women Fight Online Harassment". TIME. 28 May 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  18. ^ "Pakistani activist presented Atlantic Council award - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 4 June 2016. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  19. ^ "Pakistani digital rights activist Nighat Dad awarded 2016 Human Rights Tulip award". DAWN.COM. 6 November 2016. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  20. ^ "Nighat Dad | Reporters without borders". RSF. September 9, 2018.
  21. ^ "Strength in Numbers: Growing Our Board of Directors". The Tor Project. November 13, 2018.
  22. ^ "Facebook names first members of oversight board that can overrule Zuckerberg". Reuters. 7 May 2020. Retrieved 8 May 2020.