Dr. Lodhi was born in Lahore to an upper-middle-class family. She first received her school education in Lahore and Rawalpindi and then she went on to receive her BSc in economics in 1976 and a PhD in Political Science in 1981, both from the London School of Economics. Her doctoral thesis was titled "Bhutto, the Pakistan People’s Party and political development in Pakistan.
She then taught for a short while at the Quaid-i-Azam University, in Islamabad and at the London School of Economics for five years (1980–1985), before returning to Pakistan to work for the English language newspaper The Muslim (1987–1990). She later became the founding editor of The News International (1990–1993 and 1997–1999) and also became the first woman in Asia to edit a national daily newspaper.
Dr. Lodhi became Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States under two different Presidents, from 1994–1997 and then during 1999–2002, becoming Pakistan's longest ever serving Ambassador to the US, before relinquishing her post on the completion of her second tour of duty.
Since 2001, she has also served on the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Affairs (2001–2005) and continued to do so while holding the post of Pakistan's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (2003–2008).
She is the recipient of 2002 Hilal-i-Imtiaz Presidential Award for Public Service. She is the author of two essay collections: Pakistan’s Encounter with Democracy and The External Challenge (Vanguard and Lahore Jang Publications, 1994). Her latest book, Pakistan: Beyond the Crisis State was published in April 2011 (by C Hurst, Colombia University Press and Oxford University Press).
In 1994, Time magazine cited Dr. Lodhi as one of 100 global pacesetters and leaders, who would define the 21st century and was the only person from Pakistan on that list.
Dr. Lodhi's father worked as an executive for an oil company and was the first head of a British company in Pakistan post Partition. Her mother had received a BA in journalism and was offered a scholarship to study in the United States after graduating, but gave up a career in journalism to become a homemaker and look after her children. She has two siblings.
Ms. Lodhi was married to a banker in London, but they divorced after five years of marriage. Together, they have a son named Faisal.