Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Mahesh Kumar Malani has become the first Hindu candidate to win a National Assembly seat, 16 years after non-Muslim were granted the right to vote and contest elections in Pakistan.
Mahesh Kumar Malani won the National Assembly (NA-222) Tharparkar-II seat in southern Sindh, after defeating a total of 14 candidates, as per reports.
He defeated his closest opponent Arbab Zakaullah of the Grand Democratic Alliance, by 1,06,630 votes to 87,251 votes respectively.
Malani, who is a Pakistani Hindu Rajasthani Brahmin, was a member of parliament from 2003-08, nominated by the PPP on a reserved seat.
In 2013, Malani became the first non-Muslim Member of the Provincial Assembly following his win of Tharparkar-III general seat of the Sindh Assembly.
Earlier, he had served as the chairperson of the Sindh Assembly’s Standing Committee on Food.
Non-Muslims in Pakistan were granted the right to vote and contest general elections in 2002 after then-president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf made amendments in the Constitution.
Hindus in Pakistan also have reserved seats in the Senate, provincial and national assemblies.
A total of ten seats are reserved for minorities in the National Assembly.
Women and non-Muslims in Pakistan get two opportunities to become a lawmaker. In March 2018, PPP’s Krishna Kumari became the first Hindu woman to be elected as a Senate.