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.
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