Farhat grew up in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, a conservative part of the country where the majority of the population are Pashtun. Out of step with mainstream society, her mother insisted that local custom should be defied and Farhat should be university educated.
After university she had an arranged marriage to a man of her father’s choice. A few years into the marriage, her husband developed shizophrenia and became increasingly violent towards her. Eventually, after years of abuse and fearing for her own safety and that of her three children, she left him and returned to live with her parents. Her parents felt that she had brought dishonour on the family.