Shabana Akhtar Bakhsh made her acting debut in River City as Zara Malik, who moved to Aberdeen. Her parents are of Pakistani origin. She went on to appear in Ken Loach'sAe Fond Kiss. She became a regular in Doctors as Tasha Verma, who is also a past character. She appeared in Waterloo Road as newly qualified English teacher Jasmine Koreshi. She currently lives in Glasgow. In 2009 travelled around Scottish schools with TAG theatre company in the production "Yellow Moon", a play by David Greig, where she plays the character Silent Leila.
She has been an outspoken critic of the BBC, saying that they are afriad to write for ethnic minorities.