Upon completion of her doctorate at the University of Hull, Dr Idris was appointed Assistant Professor in the International Relations Dept., Fatima Jinnah Women’s University, Pakistan, where she taught Master's courses on defence and on political Islam. In 2000 she became Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies (Islamabad), focusing her research on the Middle East and the US-led 'war on terror'. She joined a UNDP regional governance programme in 2001, and since then has worked in the international development sector.
Iffat was appointed Research and Communications Director for the Asian Development Bank (Pakistan), Governance Unit in 2003. She focused on decentralization, justice sector and gender reforms. In 2006 she went freelance, and spent the next ten years working on diverse assignments for a range of national and international development organizations, notably the UN System and the World Bank. Issues covered include disaster management, conflict analysis, capacity development, social protection as well as governance.
Since 2012 she has been a consultant for the World Bank on right to information in South Asia. She supported the passage of strong RTI laws in two provinces in Pakistan, and has been assisting the Government of Bangladesh to improve RTI implementation.
After 13 years living in Pakistan, Iffat moved back to the UK in 2013. In January 2016 she joined GSDRC as a Research Fellow.