In 2002, international NGOs (INGOs) responding to an earthquake in the northern areas of Pakistan created an informal network called Northern Areas Earthquake Relief Operation (NAERO).
The network aimed to help with better coordination in the emergency response and rehabilitation activities of INGOs in the affected areas. In June 2003, a workshop was organized in Islamabad to discuss the viability of an NGO coordination body continuing at a national level and it was agreed to form the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF) under the leadership of a chairperson.
PHF was mandated to collectively represent INGOs with the Government of Pakistan and UN humanitarian agencies. It was also intended to strengthen coordination, information sharing and advocacy efforts of the humanitarian sector.
For the next eight years, PHF became increasingly active with additional demands for coordination, information-sharing and collective advocacy being required.
In 2010, PHF took the decision to establish a permanent Secretariat with dedicated staff to coordinate, support and deliver core PHF services.