Meet the First Hindu Woman to Contest Provincial Polls in Pakistan

31-year-old Sunita Parmar is a Scheduled Caste member and is from the Meghwar community.

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Thirty-one-year-old Sunita Parmar, a Hindu woman living in Pakistan's Sindh province, will become the first woman from the minority community to contest the provincial assembly elections to be held in the country on July 25.

Parmar is a Scheduled Caste member and is from the Meghwar community. She will contest the election as an independent candidate for the Sindh Assembly constituency, PS-56, in Tharparkar district in the Thar Desert.

According to the 2017 census, Tharparkar has a population of 1.6 million. Half of those are Hindus, of which the majority, like Parmar, belongs to the Scheduled Castes.

She is not only the first woman from her caste but also her religion to contest the election, thus challenging centuries-old prejudices.

It has been very difficult and I have had to work very hard. In this, I have been greatly supported by the women of my area. I am doing this to get us out of the clutches of the elite class (system). The middle-class people of Thar are tired of voting for these elite lords. It is my heartfelt desire to free us all of the elite class (system) and improve our lives.
Sunita Parmar, Candidate

Parmar says she was compelled to contest the upcoming polls as previous governments failed to deliver on their promises of making life better for the people of her constituency, especially the women.

In rural areas, women face a lot of difficulties during labor. There are no roads so it is very difficult to find transportation. Quite often, women have died en route due to labor complications. There are many such problems. If I win the election, then I will open a maternity hospital that caters to two or three villages with a competent gynaecologist. People here are unable to educate their children as there are no schools. If I win, my first bill will be on education.
Sunita Parmar, Candidate 

Over 50 percent of its 1,52,000 registered voters in Tharparkar district belong to the Hindu community, the highest in Pakistan, according to data with the local authorities.

Parmar heads the campaign trail with the trademark ‘Matka’ (pot) balanced on her head, a powerful symbol of her connection to the lives of the people she wants to represent.


Resident Malika Bai says that the elite class that her family has regularly voted for has failed to deliver on its promises.

"We don't have schools. We don't have water. We have to pull out water from the wells that are hundreds of feet deep and they are also running dry. There is no road that leads to our village. We have nothing."

She says she will vote for Parmar who promises to improve the standard of education for women and health facilities in her constituency.

(With inputs from AP)

Also read: This Pak Election, Hindu Dalit Women Brandish A Pencil for Rights

Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

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Topics:  Pakistan   Minority   Sindh Province 

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