Dr. Mazari holds a B.Sc.(Hon) from the London School of Economics, and a Masters, M. Phil and PhD, from Colombia University, New York, USA. Her PhD thesis was on Concepts of Hegemony& International Regimes: A Case Study of the International Trade & Nonproliferation Regimes.
She was Director General, Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad, from August 2000 to May 2008. Her previous professional assignments include: Consultant on Defense and Security, 1999-2000. Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of PULSE Weekly(1993-1999). Chairperson/Associate Professor, Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad(1988-1993). Guest lecturer, National Defense College, Islamabad. While at Quaid-i-Azam University, Dr Mazari was elected as Secretary and then President of the Academic Staff Association and in these capacities she also served as Secretary and President of the Federation of All Pakistan University Academic Staff Associations(FAPUASA).
Dr. Mazari has been a regular columnist for the main English dailies of Pakistan and was Editor of The Nation a leading English Daily, from 2009 to 2010. She has written extensively on issues of defense and security.Dr. Mazari has also authored a book titled “The Kargil Conflict 1999 Separating Fact from Fiction”. The book is a groundbreaking study of the Kargil Conflict from a Pakistani perspective.
She was also DG/CEO of the Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad Pvt (SSII) a private research centre she helped set up in January 2013. She resigned from her DG/CEO position before becoming a federal minister to avoid any conflict of interest.