For the first time in 73 years, Islamic Republic of Pakistan appointed a Hindu woman judge to a court. Suman Kumari was appointed as a judge in the civil and judicial magistrate court after she cleared an examination standing 54th in the merit list.
Suman, who hails from Qambar-Shahdadkot in Sindh province, will serve in her native district. With her appointment, Suman becomes only the second Hindu to have reached a judge’s position in Muslim-majority Pakistan.
Rana Bhagwandas was the last Hindu judge in Pakistan before Kumari. Bhagwandas was appointed the acting Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) for very brief period in 2007 by then President Pervez Musharraf.
According to Pakistani media, Suman passed her LLB examination from Hyderabad and completed her masters in law from Karachi’s Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology.
Before being appointed a judge in the civil and judicial magistrate court, she worked for Advocate Rasheed A Razvi’s firm.
Her father, Dr Pawan Kumar Bodan, who is an eye specialist, wants Suman to provide free legal assistance to the poor in Qambar-Shahdadkot.
“Suman has opted for a challenging profession, but I am sure she will go places through hard work and honesty,” Dr Bodan was quoted as saying by Dawn.
Suman’s elder sister is a software engineer and another sister is a chartered accountant.
Suman, who is a fan of singers Lata Mangeshkar and Atif Aslam, had in an interview with Pakistani daily The Nation said that the reason behind her decision to pursue the legal profession is to bring justice to the poor struggling to cope with various challenges in her native town of Sindh who she said “cannot even afford to lodge cases”.
Though apprehensive of her community not supporting her decision to become a lawyer, Suman said that her family stands by her.
Hindus make up nearly 2 per cent of Pakistan’s total population and are, like other minority communities, often the target of persecution in the country where fundamentalism runs deep.