Krishna Kohli was elected to Pakistan’s Senate on Saturday. A Dalit Hindu, she is the first female Senator to be elected from a marginalized caste in the country’s history.
Kohli has been elected as part of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), and will be sworn in later this month. The PPP, Pakistan’s left-wing, socially progressive party, has been primarily led by the Bhutto family. The party is affiliated with the Socialist International.
Prior to joining the PPP, Kohli worked at a non-government organization. She has a master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Sindh, which she used in her work fighting for women’s rights and the rights of bonded laborers. She has led workshops and seminars on sexual harassment in the workplace and women under bondage.
She was raised in a low-income household in a family with ties to bonded labor, and would work the fields alongside her parents. In her role as a government official, Kohli is determined to protect the rights of marginalized people in Pakistan.
“I will continue to work for the rights of the oppressed people, especially for the empowerment of women, their health and education,” she said to the Associated Press.
Kohli, who is thankful to the leadership of the PPP for their nomination, has won a women’s seat in the Senate. The constitution of Pakistan states that at least 17 Senators need to be women.
“I will not only represent women of Thar but act as a representative for women across the country and speak for their rights,” she told Geo News.
Currently, Hindus in Pakistan constitute a mere two percent of the country’s total population. That, coupled with the fact that Kohli is a Dalit woman, has been a surprising and well-received change in the Senate. Citizens of the country have been voicing support for Kohli all over social media.
— Syedih (@SyedIHusain) March 3, 2018
— Ziauddin Yousafzai (@ZiauddinY) March 3, 2018