Pakistan

KARACHI – The Sindh police department has recruited a Kohli Hindu woman as constable, providing vistas of opportunity for minorities in the province.

The move is being widely hailed among the community – which is considered as lower-caste in Hindu society among others like Oads, Meghwars and others.

Leaders of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which runs the provincial government, also welcomed the move.

Sherry Rehman, former Information minister and a close aide of Bhutto family, retweeted a tweet on social networking site which mentioned Shanti’s appointment as police constable.

Kohli is a Khatri clan originating from Punjab in north-western India and parts of jammu in the indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Khukhrain are a group of eight specific clans of the Khatri sub-caste. The names of the eight clans are Anand, Sahni/Sawhney, Sethi, Bhasin, Ghai, Chandhok, Kohli, Sabharwal, Chadha and Suri.

In Pakistan, most upper-caste Hindus are economically and socially sound, and commonly work as doctors, engineers and business people. Of the total Hindu population in Sindh, 80 per cent are lower-caste or scheduled-caste Hindus. The rest identify with the upper-caste, and also hold 95 per cent of the seats allocated to minorities in the assembly.

In 1956, the Pakistan government declared about 40 castes and tribes as scheduled castes, also called lower-caste Hindus or Dalits. The word Dalit is derived from Sanskrit. It means ‘oppressed’ and is commonly used as a derogatory term for lower-caste Hindus.

The majority of these Hindus are Kolhis, Menghwars, Bheels, Bagris, Balmakis, Jogis and Oads.

In December 1965, the United Nations adopted the historical International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Pakistan was among its signatories, but so far, it has not developed any mechanism for the convention’s implementation.

In 2012, the Supreme Court (SC) gave a detail verdict for the protection of minority rights by developing mechanisms for implementing such conventions. A committee was formed in compliance with the SC’s verdict, but it is yet to be functional.