Farhat Ishtiaq (Urdu: فرحت اشتیاق) (born June 23, 1980), is a Pakistani writer, author and screenwriter. She is best known for her romantic novels Humsafar, Mata-e-Jaan Hai Tu, Diyar-e-Dil, Dil se Nikle Hain jo Lafz and Woh Jo Qarz Rakhty Thay Jaan Per. She mostly focuses on Pakistani society.
I began my writing career in 2004. Initially, I wrote stories for several Urdu-language digests. I have now written bestselling books ranging from complete novels to compilations of short stories. Writing does not run in my family, but as far back as I remember, I used to read a lot, especially Enid Blyton and Ishtiaq Ahmed, and I was very good at writing school essays.
I developed my writing skills through trial and error. At middle school, I would often write short stories during my summer holidays and ask my friends to read them. Before I even got to high school, I had written a complete novel and designed its cover. Later, after I had progressed to reading more popular adult fiction, I was inspired to send my first handwritten short story to Khawateen Digest. It was published, and thus began a long-standing association with them which continues to this day.
There is a prevailing misconception in our society that writers are financially insecure and that writing should never be taken up as a profession. Although I suffered some taunts from skeptical relatives when I quit a secure Civil Engineering job to pursue what they considered to be a pipe dream, I have striven to prove that writing can be a worthwhile career. The sheer number of my fans and book sales are a good indication that my determination and formula works.
Since I have a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering fromNED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, I prefer to make my leading characters intelligent and also highly qualified. Many of them are successful civil engineers, architects, or brilliant students who live specifically where I still happily reside in Karachi.
I was born on June 23, 1980 in Karachi, Sindh. Having lived abroad, it comes as no surprise that I also often write about foreign lands. I had an almost fairytale childhood in Japan, my school was wonderful and so were my friends. Consequently, I usually write a lot of my own experiences into my stories.
Writing is not always a dream job, however, and is certainly not for everyone. I often find it an intensely lonely and painful process. I become irritable and go through mood swings. And it becomes even worse when I get stuck in a story. I always show my first draft to my sister Huma. Huma is a valuable resource who gives me an important reader’s perspective and often advises me on my story lines and characters. Based on her feedback, I make amendments to the draft. Often, I make at least three revisions before sending anything to Khawateen Digest.
As a screenwriter forPakistan television channels, my most noted novel for television is Humsafar. This catapulted me to nationwide (and even international) fame, andpressure to emulate that success is present with every subsequent television production. Humsafar was followed by Mata-e-Jaan Hai Tu.
Translating novels to screen requires a lot of hard work. Some characters that are only minor ones have to be either rewritten or fleshed-out for television. Sometimes I have had to create a new character that never existed in my book. For instance, Yameena does not exist in the novel Mata-i-Jaan.
Currently, a serial named Rehai, which I wrote as an original script, is being broadcast on Hum TV. Rehai focuses on gritty depictions of child marriage, gender discrimination and economic empowerment based on real-life stories, and is a lot different to the romantic fiction which I am known for.
In my romantic novels, I often explore many South Asian cultural issues, particularly the role of women in society. I have encountered some extremely harsh criticism over this, particularly from academics. But this is what I want to write, and I will continue to do so.
Above all, I will continue to write simple, emotionally intense stories. I am very committed to writing romances At present, I want to explore the possibility of falling in love for a second time. I don’t believe that one must get married after a certain age. I don’t want such a marriage. And I am ready to stay single until I find such a person.