Board Members



Photo of Shahid Iqbal in front of a microphone

Shahid Iqbal

Founder, President / Development Director

Shahid Iqbal founded Indus Arts Council (IAC) with his wife, Sara Iqbal in 2012 with a mission to promote Pakistani arts, culture, and languages. Shahid works as a Technology Consultant for a private U.S. firm and lives in Houston with his wife and two sons. His family was the primary inspiration and reason to start a nonprofit effort. He has since served in many different capacities, such as President of the board, Program Director for the Urdu Language, and fundraising and development.

Shahid has been part of Houston’s Pakistani community since the mid-1990s. He was instrumental in bringing back the comedy stage for Pakistan Students Association at the University of Houston (UH). He helped organize the Pakistani Literary Society at UofH, which brought to light student-related stories. Since 2001, Shahid worked with Houston’s famous Urdu writer Mr. Masood Ahmed and acted in many Urdu theater plays.

Shahid has been blessed to have good, hardworking, and visionary people who joined IAC from day one. His management, networking, and team-building skills have helped IAC grow exponentially since 2014 when IAC received its first federal grant. Under his leadership, IAC produced one short film (2013) and one feature-length film (2016) in a short span of two years since its inception. Since 2019, Shahid has led the “Taking Urdu Nationwide in 2020” campaign and helped establish two pilot programs in Saint Louis, MO, and Dublin, CA.

Photo of Sara Iqbal wearing black rimmed specs standing agains a blurred background

Sara Iqbal

Founder, Communications Director

A Pakistani Texan from Lahore, Sara belongs to the subcontinent’s rich heritage dating as far back as the Mughals. She comes from the Chughtai family, who has significantly contributed to the Arts in Pakistan. Her great grandfather, Master MiraN Baksh, was Assistant Principal, and late uncle Abdul Rahman Chughtai was the Head Instructor at Mayo School of Arts, Lahore, now the National College of Arts, Lahore.

Sara finished her F.A from Kinnaird College, Lahore, and moved to the U.S. with her family in 1987. She has a BFA in Graphic Communications from the University of Houston. She provides Visual Design and Creative Direction for Branding and Marketing to small businesses and nonprofit organizations through her company, Graphic Matt{rs. Her clients range from Oil & Gas, Healthcare, Education to Legal and Design industries. She also serves as the Design Advocacy Director for AIGA Houston, the professional association for design in the U.S. and is certified in Nonprofit Board Education. She strongly believes in the power of art and design to impact lives, incite curiosity and inquiry that leads to discovery and knowledge. 

Sara was always compelled to explore the unbeaten paths through volunteering with diverse organizations. She’s lent her graphic design skills to create memorable and award-winning event experiences for WHCC (West Houston Chamber of Commerce), APPNA (American Pakistani Physicians of North America), SIUT (Sindh Institute of Urology & Transplantation), HDF (Human Development Fund), TCF (The Citizens Foundation), and ASID TXGC (American Society of Interior Designers). She’s also been a WHCC (West Houston Chamber of Commerce) Women Leading Business. 

Sara founded Indus Arts Council with her husband, Shahid Iqbal, and sister, Sabah Iqbal, primarily to teach the Urdu language to their children born in the United States. Since 2012, the nonprofit organization has evolved into a hub of immersive events, theater, and language classes, all converging to Urdu and its heritage. As a Communications Director for Indus Arts Council, Sara develops board communications and brand messaging, as well as campaigns, promotions, and event experiences to manifest the colors and culture of Pakistan for:

  • Pervaaz – Urdu language classes
  • Children’s Theater
  • Naqsh – Art Program
  • Muqabla—talent show and trivia
  • Rūng ā Rūng—an amalgamation of street food and art, one for the body and the other for the soul. 

Instagram: @mine.refine  /  Facebook: @mygraphicatters

اونچا بول۔ اپنی زبان میں اپنے رنگ میں  /  Ouncha Bol. Apni zaban meiN, apnay rūng meiN

Bold and Loud – be proud of your language and heritage

Photo of Sabah Iqbal wearing thick black rimmed spectacles.

Sabah Iqbal

Founder, Creative Director

One of founders of Indus Arts Council, Sabah has a BFA in Graphic Communications from University of Houston and works as a Creative Design Lead for Envoy Mortgage. She’s the Creative Director and Brand Manager for Indus Arts Council and makes sure that all the visuals for internal and external communications are cohesive and on-brand with the mission and vision of IAC.


Photo of Mazna Andrabi as the Operations Director for Indus Arts Council

Mazna Andrabi

Finance Director

Mazna was born in Pakistan and raised in Houston, Texas. She frequently visits her extended family in Pakistan and enjoys these opportunities to practice her Urdu speaking skills. She believes it’s essential to know one’s heritage and language to pass on these parts of our communities to future generations. Her favorite part of Pakistani culture is the music, and she was even inspired by her mom and sister to learn the dhol, albeit at a fundamental level.

Mazna Andrabi is a CPA licensed in the State of Texas with six years of experience in public accounting in the greater Houston area. During her time in public accounting, she worked on global audits, primarily in the construction and oil field services industries. She also instructed national audit courses for new staff and interns. She holds a Bachelor in Business Administration and a Master in Professional Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin.

Mazna has been involved with Indus Arts Council since Summer 2019. She initially volunteered during the Urdu Summer Camp, which her nephews attended. During this time, she learned more about IAC and its mission. In the fall of 2019, she volunteered at IAC’s Rung-A-Rung: Tea & Truck Art festival, helping manage the event budgeting and finances. This eventually led to her current role as the Finance Chair for IAC. In this role, Mazna is responsible for developing and monitoring IAC’s annual budget, overseeing accounting functions, and preparing monthly financial reports for the Board of Directors.

She is motivated to work with IAC because it combines her love for visual and performing arts with Pakistani culture. She looks forward to supporting IAC’s future growth.

Photo of Finance chair Gule Andrabi for Indus Arts Council

Gule (Komal) Andrabi

Fundraising Chair

Gule Andrabi is a Director at Dei Bambini Montessori and possesses over 25 years of teaching and consulting experience. She has a Bachelor of Science from Punjab University and Early Childhood and Elementary Education credentials through the American Montessori Society (AMS). She’s a certified administrator and consultant for Montessori. she has written various articles on education and taught overseas workshops to other educators. 

She is a philanthropist who supports many diverse organizations in the Houston area that serve the underrepresented communities. She has served as a Chair with Asians Against Domestic Abuse (AADA) and Honorary Chair with Daya. She was a member of the President Circle for Development in Literacy ( DIL ) and has been involved with other organizations in the community, including Texas Citizens Foundation (TCF), and TAIBA.

Gule’s initial involvement with the Indus Arts Council began due to her love for the Urdu language and interest in promoting Pakistani culture in the United States. She became more involved as a volunteer when her grandchildren started Urdu camp and later served as a Sponsorship Chair for the IAC’s Rūng ā Rūng, Tea & Truck Art Festival in the fall of 2019.

With her experience and expertise in education, Gule helps IAC in Urdu curriculum building decisions and sharing ideas that promote the Urdu language nationally. In her role as the Fundraising Chair, she brings her knowledge from involvement with other non-profit organizations to help lead fundraising and event planning efforts for IAC. On a personal level, she feels that through her involvement with the Indus Arts Council, her children and grandchildren will understand and appreciate Pakistani culture. Her work with IAC also brings her closer to her roots and the country she loves so much.

Photo of Saima Seyar in red and black blouse in a blue back chair

Saima Seyar

Fundraising Chair

Saima Seyar, Principal, Elima Designs, is an award-winning, Registered Interior Designer. She has designed distinctive interiors for residential, commercial, and custom-build projects since 1998 throughout the United States and Internationally. Her leadership roles include serving as Past-President of ASID TXGC and CST for ASID National HeadQuarters. Due to her command of the industry, she has spoken at numerous events. Saima is a member of the prestigious Design Council for Thermador.

Saima’s transformations extend beyond interior spaces. She helps reshape human experiences through philanthropy, arts, and culture. As part of the Advisory Board of the Houston Furniture Bank, she helped design the current HFB building and is assisting with their “No Kids on the Floor” project. HFB is a charity that provides furniture to underserved communities in Houston. 

Her resources and prowess in interior spaces are an asset to Indus Arts Council as a Board member. Saima helps define the rudimentary spaces and art installations for the immersive experience created for IAC’s cultural and fundraising events.

Photo of Sajal Javid standing against a large artwork wearing black sweater over a dress

Sajal Javid

Governance Chair

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Sajal Javid works as the Director of Human Resources, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the Alley Theatre. She is also a social worker, activist, and executive leadership coach with twenty-plus years of HR, Operations, and Social Work experience in multi-state retail, non-profit, arts, entertainment, and hospitality industries.

Sajal was born in Lahore, Pakistan, and after completing her B.A. from Kinnaird College, she moved to the U.S. Sajal loves to read and write Urdu poetry. She believes in promoting the Urdu language as language shapes culture, and culture without language ceases to exist. People with the same language also share feelings, beliefs, and behaviors. It is this belief that has propelled Sajal to join Indus Arts Council. Sajal is fluent in Urdu and Punjabi.

Sajal is a Certified Diversity Professional and HR Consultant. Currently, she serves on the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) EDI Committee and co-facilitates the LORT BIPOC leadership affinity committee. Sajal is also a partner in Hacking HR, which is passionate about the future of work and how technology can affect people and organizations.

Sajal has guest lectured at Columbia University’s School of Social Work and Yale University School of Drama. Sajal holds a Master of Science in Social Work, World of Work at Columbia University; a Master of Education from the University of Central Oklahoma, a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Oklahoma City University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Kinnaird College University in Lahore, Pakistan.

The limits of my language are the limits of my world. ‒ Ludwig Wittgenstein

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