KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was accused of “ignoring” the scheduled caste or Dalit Hindus, who constitute of 80 percent of the total Pakistani Hindu population, for the upcoming general elections 2018. The scheduled caste leaders have complained that, despite being in majority, only two Dalit leaders were nominated for reserved seats for minorities in the Sindh assembly, while 5 nominations were made from the upper caste Hindus, who make 20 percent of the total population of Hindus in the country.Dalit leaders claim that around 80 percent of approximately 8 million Pakistani Hindus, are scheduled caste or Dalits Hindus, but despite that PPP has “ignored” them in the distribution of seats in Sindh. “Dalits Hindus are in majority but despite that PPP is not considering them to issue party tickets on general seats or in the reserved seats,” said Govind Ram, president Pakistan Hindu Sabha (PHS), a leading Pakistani Hindu organisation. He claimed that the upper caste Hindus are paying money to buy the seats.PPP leadership has, however, denied allegations and said that the party has always given priority to the Dalits. “Recently, PPP nominated a Dalit woman Krishana Kohli on senate seat, while another Dalit engineer Gianchand was also given senate seat,” said Surendar Valasai, the in-charge of the media cell at Bilawal House.According to PPP’s finalised list for minority seats, two Dalit candidates Surendar Valasai and Poonjo Mal Bheel who, left MQM and joined PPP, were given reserved seats, while five upper caste Hindus including Rana Hameer Singh, Mukesh Kumar Chawla, Lal Chand Ukrai, his cousin and former minister for Minority Affairs, Mohan Lal Kohistani and Roshan Lal were given reserved seats. Two seats were given to Christians including Anthony Naveed and Naveed Bhatti.Dr Khatoo Mal Jeevan, a scheduled caste leader and PPP worker, who contested elections in 1988 against the powerful Arbab family of Tharparkar, was not given ticket on general seat or on the reserved seat. Talking to Daily Times over telephone, Dr Jeevan said that it was the decision of party leadership and that he accepts it. Moreover, PPP leadership has also issued party tickets to two upper caste Hindu candidates including former minister Gianchand Isarani on PS-81 (Jamshoro-II) and Hari Ram Kishori Lal on PS-47 (Mirpurkhas-I) to contest elections on general seat.PPP is also considering to issue ticket to Mahesh Malani on PS-56 Tharparkar on general seat, but his nomination has not yet been confirmed.According to Election Commission of Pakistan’s report compiled for the elections 2018, there are total 2.99 million voters of religious minorities in Pakistan, while in 2013 election there were 2.77 million voters.Hindus are the largest religious minority with 1.49 million votes, which is almost half of the total non-Muslim votes in Pakistan. Majority of Pakistani Hindus live in Sindh and Election Commission’s data reveals that only in Sindh province there are 1.39 million Hindu voters.