Krishna Lal Kohli – the first Dalit to contest Senate election in Pakistan


NEWS DESK: Commonly known as Kishoo Lal, which is also her handle on Twitter, Krishna Lal Kohli is the first Dalit woman who will be contesting the election for the upper house of the Pakistani parliament.

Born in 1979, Kohli belongs to a remote village of Nagarparkar, known as Dhana Gam. A rights activist, she has been given the ticket to contest for a Senate seat by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). She is among the 12 PPP candidates who were finally selected after eight candidatures were withdrawn. She had joined the PPP along with her brother, Veerji Kohli, who was elected chairman of union council Berano as an independent candidate.

Born to a peasant, Kohli spent almost three years in a private jail said to be owned by the landlord of Kunri of Umerkot district. At the time when she was held in bonded labour, the rights activist was in class three. She was only 16 years old and studying in class nine when she was married to a student of the Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam, Lal Chand. Despite her marriage at such a tender age, Kohli went on to get a postgraduate degree in sociology from the University of Sindh.

Having begun her activism in 2005 in Tharpa­rkar, Kohli was selected for the third Mehergarh Human Rights Youth Leadership Training Camp held in 2007 at Islamabad, in which she covered an overview of people’s movements in the world, history of social movements in Pakistan and a thorough understanding of the governance system in the country. She then worked for the Youth Civil Action Progr­amme to identify cases of bonded labour and conducted case studies focusing women under bondage, organised workshops and seminars on bonded labour, sexual harassment at workplace and other human and women’s rights issues and contributed write-ups to various newspapers.

According to reports, provincial minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah, MNA Dr Nafisa Shah, MPA Dr Mehesh Kumar Malani and other PPP leaders had urged the party leadership to give Kohli a ticket. She will be contesting the election on a general seat.

If elected, Kohli will be the first Dalit woman to become a Pakistani senator.

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Story first published: 20th February 2018

Originally Posted on SamaaNews


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