Sindhi Hindu women making history
BY DR.ABDUL RAZAK SHAIKH,
Besides Suman Kumari of Shahdadkot selected to the post of civil judge, Daina Kumari, from Jacobabad District has also passed the same exam for civil judge-cum-judicial-magistrate and is all set to join the subordinate judiciary of the Sindh High Court.
We extend our heartiest congratulations to Suman Kumari, a resident of Shahdadkot and Diana Kumari of Jacobabad for becoming Hindu citizen of Pakistan to be appointed a civil judge.
Hindu women hailing from Sindh province are setting an example for their Muslim counterparts as they are excelling in various fields including politics, bureaucracy, education, medicine — and now judiciary.
According to the results of the exams held for the posts of Civil Judge/Judicial Magistrates announced recently on January 19, 2019, Suman Kumari stood 13th position and Daina Kumari took the 46th position.
Diana kumara Daughter of Lachman Das Kingrani, a local trader of electronic goods in Jacobabad, Daina has done her LLB from Shah Abdul Latif University Khairpur some five years ago. After practicing law for three years, she was selected Inspector Legal in 2018. Then ranked 19th out of total 100 inspectors.
The only prerequisite for success is commitment and devotion. She was the first female Inspector Legal belonging to Hindu community.
Daina kumari says Hindu girls are backward and have fewer opportunities than the Muslim women but still with hard work, devotion and above all support from the family they can achieve success.
Suman Kumari hails from a family of professionals, with her father serving in the region as an eye surgeon and her two sisters associated with the fields of engineering and accountancy.
Suman Kumari’s appointment marks another step forward in the country’s progress towards ideals laid out for it by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in his August 11 speech to the constituent assembly. However, the path ahead is full of challenges but the good news is that the only thing needed to overcome them is political will on the part of those heading various state institutions.
In 2014, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had passed a landmark judgment on the protection of minority’s rights. It laid out a roadmap of desired changes, including the constitution of a task force to devise a policy for inter-religious harmony, a special police force for the protection of minorities’ places of worship, and a national council to monitor and protect rights of minority communities. The judgment also asked the government to increase to five percent and strictly enforce jobs quota for minorities in the public sector. It contained directives against hate speech in our curricula too.
Unfortunately, the judgment led to no major breakthroughs in the condition of minority communities, as different government ministries in the Centre and in provinces failed to pay any attention to the directives. Thanks to public interest litigation initiated by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the SC took notice of the lack of implementation in 2018 and constituted a committee to ensure compliance. The committee has yet to start its proceedings, but it is hoped that the apex court will not let the executive ignore the issue yet again this time.
However, as the committee proceeds with its mandate, it must pay special attention to the recommendations made by the HRCP and other applicants. Among other suggestions, the applicants had stressed the need for a five percent quota for students from minority communities in admissions to higher education institutions. They reasoned that the education quota was needed because without it the five percent jobs quota was useless since socio-economic marginalization due to years of oppressive policies has led to low education attainment among minorities.
Clearly, Suman Kumari and Diana Kumari such cases are exceptions, as it is against all odds that minority citizens manage to reach high-ranking and prestigious public offices. But there still remain similarly talented and competent citizens from minority communities who cannot pursue their education and career goals due to structural barriers and lack of opportunities. As a starting point, our public sector institutions must make provisions for education and job quota for such bright minds. This is an area in which Pakistan has a lot to learn from other states worldwide. Affirmative action policies have gone a long way in fighting structural and institutional racism in other jurisdictions. Pakistan must also follow suit in its fight against discrimination on religious grounds, and put in place these quotas.
Being a judge is not easy. It is a challenging task but both are confident that with cooperation from colleagues and guidance from the senior judges and advocates they would delegate her duties with devotion and dedication.
Local Hindu community is celebrating Daina and Suman selection as a civil judge. Kapil Dev, a Hindu rights activist in his twitter message, has congratulated on their selection and said: “we have proud for them.”