Lower-Caste Hindus Break Barriers in Pakistani Politics Ahead of 2024 General Elections

Web DeskFebruary 2, 20243214 min
Lower-Caste Hindus Break Barriers in Pakistani Politics Ahead of 2024 General Elections

A noteworthy development is unfolding in Pakistani politics as lower-caste Hindus assert their presence in the electoral arena, contesting on general seats with increasing prominence. This surge is particularly evident in the Mirpur Khas division, encompassing districts like Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, and Tharparkar, where a significant non-Muslim population, predominantly Hindus, resides. A dozen Hindu candidates are actively participating in elections from Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas divisions, focusing on key constituencies such as NA-215 Mithi, NA-213 Umerkot, and PS-45 Mirpurkhas. It is noteworthy that all three candidates in these constituencies are competing against Muslim opponents.

In NA-215 Mithi, PPP’s Mahesh Kumar Malani, who emerged victorious in the 2018 general elections, faces Arbab Ghulam Rahim, a prominent leader of the GDA and former chief minister of Sindh. Analysts suggest that Malani’s strong connection with the Hindu voter base positions him favorably against his Muslim opponent.

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In Mirpur Khas’s PS-45, Seth Hari Ram Kishori, despite contending against a Muslim candidate from an upper caste, holds a promising position according to local analysts.

In Umerkot, former PTI National Assembly member Lal Malhi, vying for the general seat from NA-213, faces tough competition from PPP’s Nawab Muhammad Yousuf Talpur. Malhi remains optimistic, citing the Hindu majority in the constituency as a potential advantage.

Notably, both PPP and PTI have nominated candidates from lower castes, a move signaling inclusivity in their political strategies. In contrast, PML-N has not nominated candidates for general seats, aligning itself with the Grand Democratic Alliance.

Political analyst Ashfaq Laghari views the inclusion of lower-caste Hindus in the 2024 general elections as a positive and progressive development, crediting figures like PPP’s Krishna Kumari for inspiring inclusivity.

Educationist Partab Shivani attributes this progress to heightened awareness and emphasizes the importance of lower-caste Hindu representation in parliament. The trend extends beyond the Mirpur Khas division, encompassing areas like Badin, Ghotki, Jamshoro district, and Karachi, where Hindus are also a significant community.

Political and social activist Mukesh Meghwar acknowledges the challenges faced by Hindu candidates in securing general seats, citing political parties’ apprehension about potential lack of support from Muslim voters. Despite these challenges, analysts agree that the 2024 general elections in Pakistan reflect a positive shift, breaking stereotypes, and fostering a more inclusive political landscape with lower-caste Hindus gaining representation in general seats.

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