Sufia married her husband Ashraf in an arranged marriage. He was older than her, and moved to Britain in 1968, when she was a child still living in Bangladesh. They married in Bangladesh and moved to Britain in 1973, and had two children; Sohail and Shireen. Sufia makes her first appearance in the serial in 1988, when she moves to Walford with her family.
In 1989 she discovers that Ashraf is having an affair with a woman named Stella. Sufia decides to leave Ashraf, but he talks her round and she stays, as Ashraf and Stella's relationship had ended. Ashraf and Sufia arrange a marriage for their daughter Shireen with a man named Jabbar Ahmed. Ashraf has started seeing Stella again, and Jabbar's family find out about his infidelity and call off the engagement. Sufia and Jabbar's mother help Jabbar and Shireen to secretly continue with the engagement as they have fallen in love. The Karims leave Walford to live in Bristol in June 1990.