Pakistan General Election results have been delayed. However, as per latest trends, cricketer turned politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is leading on 110 seats out 272 National Assembly seats. His opponent, ousted PM Nawaz Sharif’s party PML (N) is leading on 63 seats followed by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on 42 National Assembly seats.
Pakistan’s General Elections have been marred with violence, deadly suicide blasts and allegations of blatant rigging. Amidst all this, a pleasant development has come to light. A Hindu leader of Pakistan made his way to the National Assembly by defeating his nearest rival with a huge margin. It’s good news considering the poor condition of Hindu community in Pakistan. His victory is a ray of hope for the Hindu communities living in Pakistan. Dr Mahesh Kumar Malani, 55-year-old minority community leader, from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) secured landslide victory from Tharparkar in southern Sindh province. Mahesh Malani got 37,425 votes, on the other hand, his rival Aran Zakaullah polled 18,323 votes. He is the first to be elected in General category member for Pakistan National Assembly.
Dr Mahesh Malani was a member of National Assembly from 2003-08 on a reserved seat. He was also elected as Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) in Sindh in 2013. At present, Mahesh Malani is the member of the following committees:
o Standing Committee on Law & Parliamentary Affairs Human Rights
o Standing Committee on Food
o Standing Committee on Minorities Affairs
o Standing Committee on Energy
o Standing Committee on Transport and Mass Transit.
Mahesh Malani is considered as a very powerful and strong leader in his Meethi Sehar of Tharparkar district. According to 2017 population census, there are more than 11 Lakh Hindus in Tharparkar district, Sindh. Sindh province is PPP stronghold. Despite Imran Khan’s wave in Pakistan General Elections, PPP managed to sweep the Sindh province. However, PPP suffered setbacks on major seats which are considered as safe seats of the party. PPP Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, suffered a humiliating defeat on the Lyari-based NA-246 seat to the candidate of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Abdul Shakoor Shad. Bilawal Bhutto did manage to conquer NA-200, Larkana seat by defeating Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal candidate, Rashid Mehmood Soomro by over 30,000 votes.
Other Hindu candidates who contested in 2018 Pakistan General Elections include Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani of PTI, Sanjay Perwani of Muttahida Qaumi Movement and an independent women activist Radha Bheel.
Number of Hindu voters have registered a minor increase. According new voters’ list prepared ahead of 2018 General Elections, there are 1.77 million Hindu voters in Pakistan. In 2013, the number of Hindu voters was 1.40 million. Most of the Hindu population of the country lives in Sindh province.
It would be interesting to see what would be the approach of the new government of Pakistan, under a new leader, towards its minorities like Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, Ahmadiyya and Jews. All the previous governments of Pakistan have adopted a discriminatory attitude towards the minorities and have done nothing to stop the persecution of minorities. The minorities are abused, tortured and forced to accept Islam on everyday basis. Daughters of minority communities are forcefully abducted and converted to Islam. Only time will tell whether the new government would do something for the protection of minorities or not.
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