- The move has garnered considerable interest on social media
- Hindus and people from other minority communities were not allowed to join Pakistan Army until 2000
Two Hindu officers in the Pakistan Army have been elevated to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel for the first time, Pakistan’s official media has reported, a move that has garnered considerable interest on social media in this conservative Muslim-majority country. Major Dr. Kelash Kumar and Major Dr. Aneel Kumar have been promoted to the post of Lieutenant Colonel after the Pakistan Army Promotion Board approved their promotions, media reports said.
Kelash Kumar, who hails from Tharparkar district in Sindh province, had also become the country’s first-ever Major from the Hindu community in 2019, according to local media reports. He was born in 1981 and joined the Pakistan Army in 2008 as a captain after completing his MBBS from the Liaquat University of Medical Health and Sciences in Jamshoro.
Aneel Kumar is a year younger to Kelash, hails from Badin, also in Sindh province. He had joined the Pakistan Army in 2007, reports said. On Thursday, state-run Pakistan Television tweeted about the promotion of Kelash Kumar. “Kumar has become the first Hindu officer promoted as Lt Colonel,” the PTV tweeted. The news was picked up by Kapil Dev, an active campaigner for the rights of the Hindu community in Pakistan.
“History in Making Kelash Kumar becomes the first #Hindu officer to have been promoted as Lieutenant Colonel in #PakArmy. Congratulations, Kelash!!!” Dev tweeted.
On Friday, he again took to Twitter to share the news about Aneel Kumar’s promotion. “Congratulations Aneel Kumar on being promoted as Lt Colonel in #PakArmy. He & Kelash Kumar both got promotions. What a day to share such rare and good news. #PakistanForAll,” he tweeted.
So far there was no official confirmation about the two promotions. Hindus and people from other minority communities were not allowed to join the Pakistan Army until 2000. Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan. According to official estimates, around 75 lakh Hindus live in the country. The majority of Pakistan’s Hindu population is settled in Sindh province where they share culture, traditions and language with Muslim residents.