New Delhi: Pakistan saw an outpouring of celebration Friday after PTV News reported that Kelash Kumar had been appointed to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, becoming the ‘first’ Hindu to achieve this position in the Pakistan Army.
According to Samaa TV, “the Inter-Services Public Relations called Kumar a ‘brilliant officer’.” Kumar is from Thar in Sindh.
پاک فوج میں ہندو افسر کی لیفٹیننٹ کرنل کے عہدے پر ترقی۔ کمار پاک فوج میں لیفٹیننٹ کرنل کے عہدے پر ترقی پانے والے پہلے ہندو افسرہیں۔ pic.twitter.com/ZA01sMMwsz
— PTV News (@PTVNewsOfficial) February 25, 2022
While PTV’s tweet has garnered over 4,000 likes, Niche Lifestyle’s Instagram post on the news picked up over 10,000 likes and 300 comments.
“You are our pride,” said Pakistan Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry. “We all bleed green,” exclaimed Samaa TV analyst Sumaira Khan, while economics-focused digital media platform Developing Pakistan congratulated Kumar with the hashtag #HumSabKaPakistan
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) February 25, 2022
While most of the media and reactions were focused on Kumar’s promotion to the Lt Col rank, several reports from local media outlets subsequently claimed that a second Hindu Army officer, Dr Aneel Kumar, had also been promoted to the same rank.
“Along with Major Kelash Kumar, Major Aneel Kumar has also been promoted to the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel in Pakistan Army. He’s six months senior to Kelash which makes him the first Hindu Officer to be promoted to the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel,” a Twitter user claimed.
#Pakistan Army promotes 2 officers from the minority #Hindu community to lieutenant colonel rank. Kailash Kumar and Anil Kumar are from Tharparkar and Badin districts respectively. pic.twitter.com/oSBFxCQF4W
— Ayaz Gul (@AyazGul64) February 25, 2022
Some also labelled the appointments as long overdue, and indicative of the lack of opportunities for minority communities in Pakistan to hold positions of power.
“The fact that we are celebrating minority officers getting promoted in 2022 speaks volumes about our treatment of minorities. We need to do more to increase opportunities for minorities in our country!” a user said.
One Twitter user also exclaimed that this was “Jinnah’s Pakistan where minorities have equal rights.”
That's Jinnah's Pakistan where minorities have Equal rights. 🇵🇰
For the First time in the history of Pakistan Army,a Hindu Officer Kelash Kumar has been promoted to rank of Lieutenant Colonel.👏🏼❤#TeamEverGreen🇵🇰 pic.twitter.com/7iufJDLiPH
— AYESHA_امجد (@Aish_sayss) February 25, 2022
“Maj Dr. Kailash Kumar was born in 1981; he hails from Tharparkar and he got commission in the Pakistan Army in 2008; while Maj Dr. Anil Kumar was born in 1982; he is a resident of Badin and he got commission in the Pak Army in 2007,” TheNews said.
The site also reported that Aneel Kumar had helped people in “remote areas of Pakistan such as Tharparkar, Gilgit-Baltistan and the Hunza valley”. He was awarded the Tamaga-e-Dafa “for spending 36 days at the world’s highest post in the Baltoro sector near K2,” TheNews added.