Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Mahesh Kumar Malani has became the first non-Muslim to win a general seat in the National Assembly since the amendment in Legal Framework Order was passed in 2002, he told Dawn on Friday.
Malani — who is a Hindu — contested and won the NA-222 (Tharparkar-II) seat where he held his ground against 14 candidates representing the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan and several independent candidates. He received 106,630 votes while his opponent, Arbab Zakaullah of the GDA, garnered 87251 votes.
In 2013, Malani was also the first non-Muslim lawmaker to win a general seat in the Sindh Assembly, PS-61 (Tharparkar-III).
He has served as the chairperson of the Sindh Assembly’s Standing Committee on Food, and has remained a member of the Standing Committee on Law and Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights, Standing Committee on Minorities Affairs, Standing Committee on Energy and Standing Committee on Transport and Mass Transit during the last government’s tenure.
During the Senate elections earlier this year in March, PPP’s Krishna Kumari from Tharparkar became the first Thari Hindu woman to be elected to the Senate. She was elected to a reserved seat for women from Sindh.
Non-Muslims were declared eligible to vote and contest on general seats in 2002 under an amendment in the Legal Framework Order introduced by then president Pervez Musharraf. They also have reserved seats in the Senate, national and provincial assemblies.