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Senator Krishna Kumari makes Pakistan proud

Krishna Kumari

News Analysis |

In a historic move, Krishna Kumari, 39, has become the first-ever elected Hindu Dalit Senator from Sindh, Pakistan. Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari chose Kumari on minority seat from Sindh Assembly.

Kumari convincingly defeated her opponent from a religious party.

“I feel delighted, this was unthinkable for me, to reach the Senate,” Kumari said in the post-election speech.

Kumari belongs to a remote village Nagarparkar, of district Thar in Sindh.  She was born to a poor peasant family that worked as a bonded labor for three years in a jail run by a landlord when she was a child. Kumari, after her marriage at age of 16 attained a postgraduate degree in Sociology from University of Sindh.

Her great-grandfather Rooplo Kohli was a freedom fighter that fought against British invasion in 1857.

Kumari has given the credit of her success to her supportive in-laws and husband that eased her path to education.

“My husband and family supported me a lot in my studies and work and it allowed me to get required education despite my Dalit caste background,”

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Since then, she has worked tirelessly for the development of marginalized communities in the remote villages of her district Sindh.  She joined PPP as a social activist.

“I am a human rights activist and try to highlight the problems faced by the minorities especially Hindus. PPP could have nominated any other woman for the seat but they showed they have regard for minorities as well,” she said.

She was elected to the third Mehergarh Human Rights Youth Leadership training program in 2007. In her training program, she studied people’s movement in the world, history of social movements in Pakistan and gained profound knowledge on governance system of Pakistan.

After her training, she joined Youth Civil Action program that identified cases of bonded labor and conducted case studies on women under bondage. She actively worked for organizing workshops and seminars on multiple social causes including sexual harassment at workplace, and other social and human right’s issue.

In her media talk before elections, she vowed that as a senator her primary target would be education, health, and water. She also vowed to facilitate the girl’s education in her region.

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“The real power is education. It empowers you to develop personally and become politically active” she said in an interview to an international publication.

She is the sister of a leading PPP human right activist Veerji Kohli who is recently released from Hyderabad jail after court orders. He was charged with murder and was imprisoned for life in 2017. According to the party sources, the charges were false and were politically motivated.

Her great-grandfather Rooplo Kohli was a freedom fighter that fought against British invasion in 1857.

Krishna Kumari’s election in the Upper-house is another milestone achievement for the cause of women empowerment. It will particularly help shed the impression built around minorities being suppressed in Pakistan.

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