The Biharis, The Non Bengalis, The Stateless or The Pakistanis!

By Dr. Mujahid Ghazi

It is 16th December. Every year this day reminds me of the painful event in 1971 when Sonar Bangla, the East Pakistan fell and hundreds and thousands of patriotic Pakistanis became prisoners of ego and lost everything including their citizenship and became stateless. After 38 years those Pakistanis along with the next two generations born in the mean time are still stateless. About 300 thousand of these people are living in miserable conditions in 70 camps scattered in various regions of Bangla Desh. There hopes of repatriation to Pakistan have been exploited by different governments and political parties every now and then. The Secretary General of Stranded Pakistanis General Repatriation Council (SPGRC) Mr. Haroon ur Rasheed in a recent interview disclosed that Gen. Zia ul Haq was committed to repatriate these people and a Rabita Trust was established in 1988 for this purpose but unfortunately he was killed in the plane crash.

Listen to the interview of Haroon ur Rasheed with Dr. Mujahid Ghazi from ABN Chicago this last week [audio: ABN-Stranded-Pakistani-Haroon-Rasheed.mp3]

He also said that the only other person who was sincere was Nawaz Shareef, who started the repatriation by providing houses in Mian Chunnoo in Punjab. After only 325 persons of first 56 families were repatriated his government was taken over by General Musharraf and the whole matter went into cold storage.

He also said that if Mutahida Quami Movement would have desired this issue could have been resolved very easily. He said that repatriation of Pakistanis in Bangla Desh was the foremost clause in the manifesto of MQM from the beginning. He said he had a discussion with Dr. Farooq Sattar during Pervez Musharraf’s rule. He claimed that Dr.Farooq Sattar said that the Sindhis are not willing to accept these stateless people and since we are in partnership with these people in the government it is difficult for MQM to demand repatriation. He said a lot of divided family members are voters of MQM and it is pity that they are being ignored.

I asked Haroon Rasheed about the recent move of Bangla Desh government of giving citizenship to the people in these camps. He said it is nothing but a scam. He said that the BD government has an eye on the property where these camps are located and they want to dislodge us by giving so called citizenship. He said the government is not giving any assurance of education or jobs or return of our properties or jobs which we had prior to 16th December 1971.

Today we are celebrating the rule of justice in Pakistan. A full 17 Judges’ Superior Court has declared the National Reconciliation Ordinance unconstitutional. All cases of corruption, murder, kidnapping, extortion and other irregularities are ordered to reopen. Whole nation is celebrating the victory of civil society and judiciary.

I wish a full bench of our respected judges do a hearing of a case of people who are forgotten and reopen their case too. These are the people who are forced to live in 8 x 8 cubicles, with their children and grand-children, in unhygienic and miserable condition. A bench which could examine the fact that for an average of 600 people there are 3 restrooms and people have to wait hours in lines to use them.

A full court reference which could examine the factors responsible for forcing the Pakistani women in those camps to sell their dignity and honor to overcome poverty and hunger. A bench which could examine the 50% infant mortality rate in these camps along with the prevalence of TB, Typhoid, measles and cholera. A panel of judges who could call witnesses from these camps and examine who is responsible for the death of 2500 children due to exposure to cold in winter last year.

Most importantly I wish Chief justice of Supreme Court use his Suo Moto to initiate inquiry as to who is behind the conspiracy of getting this ordinance part of constitution:

  • 16-A. Certain persons to lose and others to retain citizenship
    1. (1) All persons who at any time before sixteenth day of December 1971, were citizens of Pakistan domiciled in the territories which before said day constituted the Province of East Pakistan and who:
      1. (i) were residing in those territories on that day and are residing therein since that day voluntarily or otherwise shall cease to be citizens of Pakistan.

If this trial is ever conducted it would definitely declare us as the culprit. We the government, the opposition, the people, the civil society, the media, the intellectuals, the capitalists and the judiciary of Pakistan who is guilty of ignoring, forgetting and exploiting the misery of these 300,000 people



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3 responses to “The Biharis, The Non Bengalis, The Stateless or The Pakistanis!”

  1. farrah shah Avatar
    farrah shah

    Very wise of Nawaz to establish these people in Punjab.Why not .These people are our citizens.

    There are many in the world who wish to settle in Pakistan during the good times because it is an Islamic country and a modern one.

    Why not?These people must be heard immediately.

    Also I heard in news there are thousands of Pakistani soldiers in Indian Jail form the war of 1971 those should be brought home too.

  2. Aamir Mughal Avatar

    Vote for 'stranded Pakistanis' By Waliur Rahman

    BBC correspondent in Dhaka Tuesday, 6 May, 2003, 12:06 GMT 13:06 UK

    Legal experts say the High Court order is a landmark judgement and it would help the Biharis who want to live in Bangladesh as citizens.

    Assessment for Biharis in Bangladesh,,MARP,,BGD,…

  3. OneKarachite Avatar

    Ohhh, people still remember these Pakistanis?

    These poor Pakistanis fought along PAKISTAN ARMY in love of Pakistan and what did they get? boots on their A$$es.

    (Na)Pak Army, betrayed their faithfuls time and time again.

    and same goes for Altaf Hussain and his mafia, who fooled people of Karachi and Hyderabad time and time again.