Tuesday November 19, 2019
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Hindu Woman Elected to Pakistan Senate in Historic First

"I will continue to work for the rights of the oppressed people, especially for the empowerment of women, their health and education,"

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Krishna Kumari works in her office in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Feb. 12, 2018. VOA

A woman from Pakistan’s marginalized Hindu minority has been elected to the Pakistan Senate for the first time ever in an election over the weekend in which a Taliban-linked cleric was defeated.

Krishna Kumari, a member of the Pakistan People’s Party, hails from the so-called untouchables, the lowest rung of the caste system that still prevails in Pakistan and neighboring India.

Lawmakers in national and four provincial assemblies on Saturday elected half of the 104-member Pakistan Senate to six-year terms.

ALSO READ: Pakistan Faces Rising Criticism over Inability to Curb Extremism and threat it poses to its Neighbours

Deposed premier Nawaz Sharif’s party holds a plurality of 33 seats in the upper house of parliament after winning 15 in Saturday’s elections. Former President Asif Zardari’s party came in second, followed by the party led by former cricket star Imran Khan.

pakistan senate
“I feel delighted, this was unthinkable for me to reach the senate,” Kumari told The Associated Press. Wikimedia Commons

Khan’s party supported Maulana Samiul Haq, a mentor to a number of Taliban leaders, but he fell short. Extremist groups in Pakistan have mobilized mass rallies in recent years to protest U.S. policies and support tough anti-blasphemy laws, but have largely failed to translate their clout into electoral victories.

Most of Pakistan’s Hindu population fled to India as part of the population exchange that followed the 1947 partition. Those who remain to live on the political and economic margins, and like other minorities they have endured discrimination at the hands of the Muslim majority.

ALSO READ: Will Pakistan listen to the USA and Stop Harboring Taliban and other terrorist groups?

Kumari, who was born and raised in a remote district, attributed her success to her parents, who encouraged her to pursue her education and eventually helped her to earn a university degree. She later worked for a non-governmental organization before joining the Pakistan People’s Party of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. The party nominated her for a seat reserved for minority candidates from the Sindh province, where it holds a majority.

“I will continue to work for the rights of the oppressed people, especially for the empowerment of women, their health and education,” she said.

Kumari, who worked in the fields alongside her parents as a child, will take the oath of office later this month alongside some of the biggest landowners in the country. (VOA)

Next Story

Pakistan Occupied Kashmir Areas Feature in New Political Map Released by Government

In a gazette notification, the government also enumerated the territories in Leh district as: "Gilgit, Gilgit Wazarat, Chilas, Tribal territory

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Pakistan, Kashmir, Political
The Ladakh UT consists of two districts -- Kargil and Leh -- while the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory comprises 20 districts. Pixabay

In the wake of the creation of separate Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, the government on Saturday released a new political map of the Indian Union, with 28 States and nine Union Territories (UTs). Pakistan.

The new map denotes the bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and surprisingly includes three districts — Muzaffarabad, Punch and Mirpur — which are under Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Pakistan, Kashmir, Political
New Political Map of India. PIB

The Ladakh UT consists of two districts — Kargil and Leh — while the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory comprises 20 districts.

In a gazette notification, the government also enumerated the territories in Leh district as: “Gilgit, Gilgit Wazarat, Chilas, Tribal territory and Leh and Ladakh, except the present territory of Kargil.”

Pakistan, Kashmir, Political
The new map denotes the bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and surprisingly includes three districts — Muzaffarabad, Punch and Mirpur — which are under Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Pixabay

The order was called the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Removal of Difficulties) Second Order, 2019.

The map of J&K UT comprises 20 districts, including Muzzarfarabad, Mirpur and the area of Poonch which are under PoK.

In 1947, the former Jammu and Kashmir state had 14 districts — Kathua, Jammu, Udhampur, Reasi, Anantnag, Baramulla, Poonch, Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Leh and Ladakh, Gilgit, Gilgit Wazarat, Chilhas and Tribal Territory.

On the recommendation of the Parliament, President Ram Nath Kovind effectively abrogated Article 370 from the Indian Constitution and issued the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, in August.

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On October 31, J&K ceased to exist as a state and was officially bifurcated into two UTs — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. (IANS)